Saturday, 30 January 2010

The Three Young Hopes of Slovakia - Epilogue - The Future is Bright

Germany ended Czechoslovakia's semifinal hopes at the 1990 World Cup after converting a controversial penalty in the quarter-finals. Czechoslovakia waved goodbye to one generation of players, such as Kocian, Hašek and Chovanec, but the team retained its quality - Skuhravý, Moravčík, Kubík and the young talent Dubovský came painfully close to qualifying for the 1994 World Cup, only to experience the bitter disappointment of 1990 for one last time. The final game of the qualifiers ended in a goalless draw, despite RCS ["Representation of Czechs and Slovaks" - Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 01/01/93; the game was played on 17/11/93] pressuring the 10-men Belgium for over an hour. The match was a sign of things to come - Slovakia had only two players in the starting XI [Moravčík & Dubovský]. The Czech Republic retained most of Czechoslovakia's football talent throughout the 1990s, and youngsters Šmicer, Nedvěd and Poborský [with his legendary lob against Portugal] shone brightly during the Euro 1996, whereas Slovakia failed to produce a player capable of suppplementing Dubovský's and Moravčík's brilliance.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The Three Young Hopes of Slovakia - Part 3 - Vladimír "Vladko" Weiss

The inclusion of Vladimír "Vladko" Weiss alongside Peter Dubovský, Marek Hamšík and Miroslav Stoch might seem controversial. While the latter two players feature prominently in their respective team's starting XI, Weiss spent the first half of the current season on Manchester City's bench, getting more playtime for Slovakia than for his club. His current predicament runs in a perfect parallel with that of Stoch a season ago - a promising graduate of his club's youth academy who suddenly finds himself in a squad filled with some of the most expensive football players of the EPL and beyond. Even the club's strategic thinking is similar - both Chelsea and Man City have used Stoch and Weiss as proofs of their vision for the future player policy, based not only on record transfers, but also on youth academies. With Weiss loaned out to Bolton less than a week ago and expected to feature in tonight's game against Burnley, the time is right for looking at Weiss's past, present and short-term future.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

The Three Young Hopes of Slovakia - Part 2 - Miroslav "Miňo" Stoch

While Marek Hamšík's ascend to the world of top class football was gradual, with a stop-over at the Seria B side Brescia Calcio, winger/attacking midfielder Miroslav Stoch found himself near the summit before he reached the age of 17. A decent amount of technical skill combined with young Stoch's drive towards the opponent's goal compensated for his short stature [1.68m/5 ft 6 in] - Chelsea was more than convinced and signed the youngster, who was to become the pride of Chelsea's Youth Academy. The story, however, did not stop there.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Slovakia v. New Zealand - penalty shoot-out [?]

Most Top 100 tennis players are participating in various tournaments in the Antipodes in the build up to the first Grand Slam of the year - at Auckland's ASB Classic, Slovakia's Dominika Cibulková met New Zealand's Marina Erakovic in what Slovakian media called a "World Cup prequel". A penalty shoot-out took place and unlike a certain daily, "7560 Minutes Later" is not going to spoil the outcome for you. Enjoy the show!

Monday, 4 January 2010

Slovakia to face Norway in friendly

The SFZ confirmed that Slovakia will start 2010 with a friendly against Norway, which is to be played on Wednesday, 03/03/2010 at a yet to be confirmed venue in Slovakia [most likely Stadium Pod Dubňom in Žilina that also hosted Slovakia v. Chile in November].

Saturday, 2 January 2010

The Three Young Hopes of Slovakia - Part 1 - Marek "Marekiaro" Hamšík

Marek Hamšík is the oldest of the "Three Young Hopes of Slovakia", a group of players that in many respects differs from Peter Dubovský, whose star shone so brightly on the Czechoslovak football scene in the early 1990s. Hamšík, just as his fellow midfielders Miroslav Stoch and Vladimír Weiss Jr., left Slovakia in his teenage years, aged 16. Stoch and Weiss Jr. were products of well-established "football factories" - youth teams of first-league sides - FC Nitra in Stoch's case [Ľubomír Moravčík's former club] and Inter Bratislava in Weiss's case. Both players were transferred to Premier League teams, [Chelsea and Man City respectively], excelled in their youth academies and, following their "graduation", faced quite a fight to secure a place in their clubs' "we-do-not-buy-a-player-for-less-than-£10m" line-up. The story of "Marekiaro" is different.

Related Posts with Thumbnails