Who Is Walter Pless?

Walter_Pless

A teacher by profession, but is now in his 37th 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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a_Cabello_and_McNeill_26_April_2013

Photo:  Olympia's Eduardo Cabello (left) and coach Glen McNeill at today's media conference [PlessPix]

Olympia Warriors will be without some key players when they face South Hobart at South Hobart Oval at 2pm tomorrow in a top-of-the-table Victory League clash.

The Warriors lead second-placed South Hobart by 2 points and there is a lot riding on the outcome of this game.

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Photo:  South Hobart coach Ken Morton was glowing in his praise of Olympia [PlessPix]

A win for Olympia will give them a 5-point lead, while a victory for the home side will put them in pole position and a point in front.

At today’s pre-match media conference at Football Federation Tasmania headquarters, both coaches waxed lyrical about the strengths of their opponents and paid them huge compliments.

South Hobart’s Ken Morton and Olympia’s Glen McNeill had nothing but praise for their opponents tomorrow, and so did South Hobart vice-captain Shae Hickey and Olympia’s Mexican striker Eduardo Garza Cabello.

“I think Olympia are the benchmark,” said Ken Morton.

“They’ve had a great start to the season, the Summer Cup, and that’s continued to the league.

“They’re well coached, well organised and they play exciting football and they’ve got good football players.

“So, it’s the next step for us if we want to be champions or challenging we need to play really well on Saturday and take it to Olympia.

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Photo:  Olympia's Mexican striker Eduardo Garza Cabello is excited about tomorrow's game [PlessPix]

“The spirit’s been good in the camp for a while and the boys are training hard with good intensity.

“I thought we played really well [against Devonport last week].  We dug our heels in and got a great result.

“We were quick to add Liam [Scott] to the squad when we got the opportunity and he certainly brings some good experience and great depth to the side.

“With Olympia, you get good crowds, you get good excitement, and the South Hobart versus Olympia clash, I’m sure it’ll be like a derby match.”

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Photo:  Shae Hickey is likely to control the midfield for South Hobart [PlessPix]

Shae Hickey, the South Hobart vice-captain, said that skipper Hugh Ludford would not play because of a hamstring injury.

He said the game was a very important one for the club.

“It’s a really good way, tomorrow, to tell exactly where we’re at,” said Hickey.

“I’d like to think we’ll be challenging for the title come the business end of the year, but if you want to do that sort of thing, these are the games you have to win.

“We need to look at our ball retention.  We’ve been a little bit erratic in patches but we’ve focussed during the week on some different patterns and ways of keeping the ball and I think that’ll be the focus.

“If we can get a good rhythm going and dominate possession, then that’ll go a long way towards controlling the game.

“I think it gives us a slight mental advantage playing at home.”

Olympia coach Glen McNeill was just as diplomatic as the South Hobart representatives.

“South Hobart are always the benchmark for us and this is the game we look forward to and have been since opening day,” said McNeill.

“It’s really a great test for our playing group and these are the games you really want to be involved with.

“We’re trying to develop a brand of football which is basically controlling the game, dictating play, dominating possession, and that’s what we focus on.

“And, we’re also focussed on what we do when we don’t have the ball.

“We’re trying to put maximum pressure on them because they’ll have the ball for passages of play tomorrow, no doubt.”

McNeill announced that his side would not be at full strength.

“We’re depleted with injury and people away,” he said.

“Two or three weeks ago, we were looking forward to this game and since then people have dropped away through injury and one’s left for overseas and one’s on the Mainland tomorrow.

“You want to field your best team for games like this but, unfortunately, we won’t be able to, but the playing group we do field will no doubt give 100 per cent.”

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Photo:  One coach and one player from the two clubs were the focus of attention at today's media conference [PlessPix]

Midfielder Lachlan Nichols is still injured, as is Korean import, midfielder Jeong Bin Kim.

Winger Warren Wadawu is interstate, winger Nick Meredith is overseas, and striker Dipendra Kunwar is injured.

“The players that we’ll put out onto the paddock, they are still a talented group and they’ll give 100 per cent of what they have so we’ll definitely make a game of it,” said McNeill.

Mexican striker Eduardo Garza Cabello said he was enjoying Tasmanian football and was hoping to stay for two or three seasons.

“I’m excited about the game tomorrow,” Cabello said.

“I really think that South Hobart is one of the most important teams here in Tasmania and I can’t wait to play them.”

 *****

 “The amount of possession and the number of passes are all-important in football” is the mantra that many coaches spout ad nauseam these days.

They point to the example of Barcelona, whose game consists of endless quick-fire passing and continuous possession.

The team that amasses the most number of passes is the team that invariably wins, they say.

What they ignore, however, is the nature of those passes.

One should ask the questions:  “What sort of passes are they?  Are they productive passes?”

After all, what’s the point of all those passes if they don’t achieve anything.  They may be short, square passes, or backward passes.

How many times the ball hits the back of the net is the most important statistic, in my view.

To illustrate my point, here are the statistics for this week’s two European Champions League semi-finals.

First, Bayern Munich versus Barcelona:

Shots on target:  Bayern Munich 14, Barcelona 4

Passes:  Bayern Munich 331, Barcelona 669

Accurate passes:  Bayern Munich 271, Barcelona 608

Inaccurate passes:  Bayern Munich 60, Barcelona 61

Possession:  Bayern Munich 34%, Barcelona 66%

Result:  Bayern Munich 4-0 Barcelona


Second, Borussia Dortmund versus Real Madrid

Shots on target:  Borussia Dortmund 13, Real Madrid 9

Passes:  Borussia Dortmund 372, Real Madrid 476

Accurate passes:  Borussia Dortmund 296, Real Madrid 367

Inaccurate passes:  Borussia Dortmund 76, Real Madrid 109

Possession:  Borussia Dortmund 44%, Real Madrid 56%

Result:  Borussia Dortmund 4-1 Real Madrid

The message to all coaches should be:  Our opponents can pass the ball around all day, but it’s the type of pass and the type of possession that are important.  After all, the team that wins is the one that sticks the ball in the back of the net more often than the other one.

 

Comments   

0 #13 Anono 2013-04-27 11:18
Quoting Anonymous:
FFA coaching development will be rushing to Germany. 1433 is dead.

yet ironically germany plays 433
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+2 #12 Brian 2013-04-27 09:12
Quoting Roonie Bolton:
Walter I know you are correct when you say South Hobart Oval. What I would like to know is why that's the description when it's clearly not an oval. History must say that's so. Perhaps Brian Roberts can throw some light on that.


My understanding is that all HCC grounds are ovals .

Probably either as a matter of convenience or because that the way it was and shall be for evermore
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0 #11 Marcus Parschau 2013-04-27 08:49
Looking forward to a German Final at Wembley. Hey Walter, so good to read you Blog. Keeps me updated while I'm
in Germany.
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+1 #10 Anonymous 2013-04-27 07:56
done and dusted South 3 X 2 Olympia
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0 #9 Zlatko Belanic 2013-04-27 05:12
So true Walter,it has always been Quality not quantity that wins every time,,,,that is not rocket science....that is why Brazil and Germany are really the bench marks in world football history.
They have adopted and changed with the times as needed,thus the most consistent and succesful.
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+1 #8 Neutral 2013-04-27 01:21
Quoting Anonymous:
Quoting Jose:
I agree with you Walter, on most of that. At some stage you have to make a productive pass and score a goal.
BUT the short, square or back passes are not completely pointless. They will tire out your opponents no-end and destroy confidence. This can make the other team pass it badly as a result. However with amateur sides, it can often go pear shaped by cocking up the back pass etc. Coaches need to allow players to use a variety. short + direct for me.


Yet ironically it looked like Barcelona were more tired than there Bayern opponents?? Passing the ball slowly around the back while the opposition striker and attacking mid apply token pressure by almost walking across the field is not going to tire any1 out!

And as if you are going to have your confidence destroyed when your Thomas Muller if the other team won't give you the ball. Cause you know as soon as you gain possession you are going to cut a swathe straight through their defense!

I was relating it to AMATEUR football and using one game a an example is not great. How about using the WHOLE world cup, where Spain passed the ball around and had 80 or 90% posession most games, just getting the job done 1-0.
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+1 #7 Hiddink 2013-04-27 00:50
When looking at the Barcelona vs bayern game, id say bayern won because they closed of space in midfield with six players around the ball. Gomez dropped back on busquets (the main outlet from defence to midfield), hence barca had to keep knocking it around their backline. Therefore, as walter states, the passes were completely useless because the next outlet (busquets) was always unavailable. This brings me to the point that the most important moment in a game is when the ball changes possession. When the German teams (bayern and Dortmund) won the ball, they would rush forward at pace to outnumber their slower opponents, and as soon as they lost it they would set up to defend whilst trying to win it back. Genius.
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+3 #6 Anonymous 2013-04-27 00:20
Quoting Jose:
I agree with you Walter, on most of that. At some stage you have to make a productive pass and score a goal.
BUT the short, square or back passes are not completely pointless. They will tire out your opponents no-end and destroy confidence. This can make the other team pass it badly as a result. However with amateur sides, it can often go pear shaped by cocking up the back pass etc. Coaches need to allow players to use a variety. short + direct for me.


Yet ironically it looked like Barcelona were more tired than there Bayern opponents?? Passing the ball slowly around the back while the opposition striker and attacking mid apply token pressure by almost walking across the field is not going to tire any1 out!

And as if you are going to have your confidence destroyed when your Thomas Muller if the other team won't give you the ball. Cause you know as soon as you gain possession you are going to cut a swathe straight through their defense!
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+5 #5 Anonymous 2013-04-26 23:43
FFA coaching development will be rushing to Germany. 1433 is dead.
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-2 #4 Anonymous 2013-04-26 18:29
passes may be related to possession too Walter
If Bayern had more possession then i would expect the two stats to be a little closer. A big statement to suggest Barcelona needlessly pass the ball around. ;)
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