Who Is Walter Pless?

Walter_Pless

A teacher by profession, but is now in his 38th year as a football writer. Has written for "Soccer Action" (Melbourne), "Australian Soccer Weekly" (Sydney) and "World Soccer" (London), as well as for several Tasmanian newspapers. Currently contributing to "Goal!Weekly" in Melbourne and the Australian magazine "Soccer International". Played for Croatia-Glenorchy, Caledonians, Metro, Rapid and University in Tasmania, as well as in the United States of America. Coached University, Metro and Croatia-Glenorchy.

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Australia came down to earth with a thud when they lost 3-1 to the United States of America on Saturday night [Australian time] in the Socceroos’ final practice match before taking on Germany in the World Cup.


The defeat follows wins against New Zealand (2-1) and Denmark (1-0), which may have given the Socceroos a false sense of invincibility.


Coach Pim Verbeek tried to shrug off the defeat as unimportant, but his body language and tone indicated something else.


A worrying aspect of the loss was that Australia fielded their first-choice defence and yet could easily have lost by five or six goals.


The Americans missed an open goal and had another goal disallowed for off-side when it looked quite legitimate.


Australia had 58 per cent of the possession and 7 shots at goal compared to the USA’s six, while the Socceroos had 10 corners and the Americans only three.


Vince Grella was responsible for the opening goal when his error deep in midfield gave possession to the Americans, while late in the match he earned a yellow card. He may well be a liability when the games are for real as he might have earned two reds and a yellow in the three practice matches to date.


Josh Kennedy was ineffective in attack and missed two gilt-edged chances. If we rely on him in attack, we will be in trouble.


Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton did not make appearances and it is of concern that they may be considered for the match against Germany when they have had no game time at all in the warm-ups.


On a pitch that resembled the home turf of the meerkats in the wildlife programme “Meerkat Manor”, Australia got off to the worst possible start when Edson Buddle gained possession after Grella’s slip and fired past Mark Schwarzer from the edge of the box in the 4th minute.


It was only Buddle’s third cap for the USA and his first goal for his country.


Tim Cahill, upon whom Australia’s hopes appear to rest when it comes to goals, equalised in the 19th minute when he poked home a corner from the far side of the 6-yard box.


The USA should have been 2-0 up by that stage as Robbie Findley missed an open goal in the 14th minute after he had sprung the off-side trap and rounded Schwarzer.


Only a brilliant save by Schwarzer denied Clint Dempsey in the 26th minute, the American shooting low from the left and the Australian keeper getting a fingertip to the ball and diverting it past the far post for a corner.


Buddle restored the Americans’ lead in the 31st minute. Marco Bresciano was unable to prevent Steve Cherundulo from floating over a pin-point cross from the right and Buddle nodded home from inside the 6-yard box as Craig Moore and Luke Wilkshire looked in vain for the guided missile homing in on its target.


Kennedy squandered the chance to equalise when he missed a simple header from just 4 metres out in the 34th minute after Scott Chipperfield’s precise left-wing cross.


Moore and Dempsey were both booked in the 37th minute after Moore’s foul on the American ended with both players facing up to each other with their foreheads touching and both posturing like a pair of mountain goats about to have a biff.


Australia created several good chances in the second half through Bresciano and Chipperfield, but the USA’s substitute goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann saved both shots.


The USA should have had a third goal when Buddle fired against the crossbar and the ball rebounded to Findley, whose shot was turned against the bar by Schwarzer. Michael Bradley’s diving header put the ball in the net, but the effort was disallowed because of a controversial off-side decision.


In the 3rd minute of stoppage time, a cross from the right by Donovan was swept home by Herculez Gomez to complete the Americans’ 3-1 victory and put them in the right frame of mind for when the World Cup begins.


In contrast, the Australians face more questions than answers, and it’s a worry when coach Verbeek may be considering pulling Kewell and Emerton like rabbits out of a hat for the showdown with Germany.







Forestry Tasmania Southern Premier League


Taroona 1 (H Luttmer 19) lost to South Hobart 3 (J Lo 35, G Downes 43, A King 90)


Clarence United 5 (L Cripps 3, 30, B Hamlett 34, 64, 91) beat New Town Eagles 2 (J Clamp 43, A Leszczynski 73)


Reserves


Taroona 3 (B Horgan, T Ritchie, S Ryan) lost to South Hobart 4 (N Cuthbertson, K Choi, W Ross, H Bladel)


Clarence United 6-1 New Town Eagles


Under-19s


Taroona 2-4 South Hobart


Clarence United 7-0 New Town Eagles


Southern Division One


DOSA 0-14 Beachside (B Klasen 5, B Pullen 2, Pennicott 3, A Grzinic, P Dunne, L Atkin, N Robinson)


University 8 (J Proud 4, H Peacock, A Lynch, N Blundell, A Hindmarsh) beat FFT Under-15s 1


Forestry Tasmania Northern Premier League


Launceston United 1-3 Burnie United


Ulverstone 2-3 Somerset


Launceston City 1-5 Riverside Olympic


Northern Rangers 1-0 Prospect Knights















Forestry Tasmania Southern Premier League (KGV Park, Friday, 4 June 2010)


___________________________________________________


Tilford Zebras 1 (R Self 16)

Glenorchy Knights 1 (J Hope 81)


HT: 1-0 Att: 120 Ref: K Barker


Tilford Zebras: Voss - Fagg, Muller, Telega, K Engels - Walsh, Self, Ladic, Welch - Crosswell, D Lapolla (Hall 53) [Substitutes not used: Cox, Macgregor, Kaden] [Coach: Romeo Frediani]


Glenorchy Knights: Peter - Millington (Hope 51), Grundy, Holmes, J Huigsloot - Barabara, Marsh, Fielding, Smith, Clay - Koroma [Substitutes not used: Green, Kamba, Grainger] [Coach: Nick Harrison]


_____________________________________________________


South Hobart coach Ken Morton was one of the happiest spectators at this match. The 1-1 draw ensured his team stayed 10 points ahead of second-placed Tilford Zebras and 13 points in front of third-placed Glenorchy Knights and with a game against seventh-placed Taroona in hand. Knights also have a game against Taroona in hand.


Knights adopted a cautious approach in the first half, using Amadu Koroma as a lone striker and Corey Smith in midfield. Jacob Huigsloot and Jade Clay ranged freely down the left, each covering for the other whenever one pushed forward.


Knights switched fullbacks during the half, with Huigsloot eventually moving to the right and Lindsay Millington coming across to the left. Whether this balanced the ship or not was open to question as Zebras used the width of the park to launch their dangerous attacks down both flanks.


Zebras could have been far more adventurous. They often had four defenders back marking the Knights’ solitary striker. They could easily have left two to mark Koroma and pushed two defenders into midfield to really press their opponents higher up the field.


Things changed in the second half for both sides. Knights pushed Smith and substitute James Hope up front and Koroma dropped into midfield. The Zebras dropped Ben Crosswell deeper and used Dwayne Walsh as an out-and-out striker.


Neither side was able to string together many passes and both teams gave the ball away needlessly.


The two keepers both made several fine saves. The Knights’ Ben Peter was at his best to deny Crosswell and Henry Fagg, while the Zebras’ Jason Voss kept out efforts from Fielding and Smith.


There were some bad misses by both sides. Clay could have given the Knights an early lead, while later he fired into the side-netting from a good position. And, he might also have snatched a winner in the final seconds but just failed to reach Smith’s left-wing cross to the far post after Fielding’s pass had unlocked the Zebras defence. Smith and Alex Holmes missed in quick succession with headers after a corner by Clay on the quarter-hour.


Huigsloot had a shot blocked by Jonathon Ladic for a corner midway through the second half, while Jackson Marsh had a terrific free-kick deflected for a corner, from which Fielding had his shot saved by Voss.


Walsh had an effort blocked by Huigsloot, who conceded a fruitless corner, and he was later centimetres away from scoring with a fine shot.


The final minutes were frenetic. Knights went close in a counter-attack begun by Holmes and continued by Fielding, who put Smith clean through, but Voss came out and closed the angle, forcing the Knights striker to shoot wide.


Grundy did well to block Crosswell, who had been put in with a chance by Fagg’s pass, while in stoppage time, a poor clearance by Peter with his knee landed at Crosswell’s feet, but he lobbed wide of an open goal.


Self headed the Zebras into the lead in the 16th minute following a corner from the right by Walsh and a cross back into the middle from the left by Jayden Welch.


Knights’ equaliser came 9 minutes from the end after a glorious attack down the left. Koroma put Smith away down the line and his cross was missed by Koroma, who had wasted no time in rushing forward, but substitute Hope was unmarked and scored from close range.


_________________________________________________________


· Tilford Zebras coach, Romeo Frediani, said:


“The first half, I think, was great. We controlled most of the first half and knocked the ball around quite well.


“We were patient and put one away and could probably have had a few more.


“In the second half, they came out and there were two sides on the park and not just one.


“They put a bit of pressure on us and they put one away, so we finished with a draw.


“But, one point is better than none.”


· Glenorchy Knights coach, Nick Harrison, said:


“Disappointed, to be honest. It was the same as last week.


“We’ve taken one of a possible six points.


“The good sign is that the players were walking off disappointed to get only a point.


“Overall, a much better performance and, hopefully, we’ll move on now and show that the season isn’t quite over yet.”





Forestry Tasmania Southern Premier League


Tilford Zebras 1 (R Self 16) drew with Glenorchy Knights 1 (J Hope 81)


Reserves


Tilford Zebras 6-1 Glenorchy Knights