Who Is 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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The Qantas Young Socceroos have been drawn in Group C, alongside Ecuador, Costa Rica and Spain, for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Colombia 2011, which will be played from 29 July to 20 August.

The draw was made by the Mayor of Cartagena, Judith Pinedo, former Colombian “Cafetero” internationals Oscar Cordoba and Carlos Valderrama, and Colombian Women’s National team member, Yoreli Rinconat, at the Julio Cesar Turbay Ayala Convention Centre in the Colombian coastal city of Cartagena.

After learning the tournament draw result, Qantas Young Socceroos Head Coach, Jan Versleijen, believes that it will be a big challenge for his team, but a challenge that they have been preparing for since qualification.

“It’s always said that there are no easy matches at a World Cup and from looking at our group this is definitely true,” said Versleijen.

“We played Costa Rica at the last World Cup in Egypt, so we are familiar with their style of play.

“Spain is one of the strongest teams in Europe and are famous for their youth development programs, so we are expecting them to be very tough.

“Ecuador is the unknown quantity within the group, so we will have to be on our game playing them in a climate that they are accustomed to.

“The altitude will also be a major factor at this tournament, so we will need to plan our physical and tactical preparation accordingly.

“Our target will be to progress beyond the group phase and, from there, anything is possible.”

The Qantas Young Socceroos will travel to the USA in mid-July for a pre-tournament camp in Denver, Colorado, before moving to their base camp in the Colombian city of Manizales, situated 2300m above sea level, during the first phase of the tournament.

The Qantas Young Socceroos will play their first match of the tournament against Ecuador on Sunday, 31 July, and then face Costa Rica on Wednesday, 3 August, before their final group match against Spain on Saturday, 6 August.

Brazil will face Egypt in the opening match of the tournament on Friday, 29 July in Barranquilla.

The Oceania representative for the tournament will be decided on Friday when New Zealand host the Solomon Islands in the final of the OFC U-20 Championship, which will be played at North Harbour Stadium.

The Qantas Young Socceroos qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup having made the final of the AFC U19 Youth Championships in Zibo, China, last year.