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Weiss at World Cup again, now as coach of Slovakia

Weiss at World Cup again, now as coach of Slovakia

Vladimir Weiss makes no secret of his recipe for success as coach of Slovakia at the World Cup in South Africa _ discipline, confidence and hard work.
When Weiss took charge in June 2008, Slovakia was getting over its failure to qualify for yet another major tournament, the European Championship in Austria and Switzerland. At the time, Slovakia was 67th in the FIFA rankings and the country's footballing future looked bleak.
But the 45-year-old coach, who made it to the 1990 World Cup during his playing days with the former Czechoslovakia, proved to be a perfect choice.
Pulling off a major surprise in World Cup qualifying, where his team eliminated favorites Czech Republic and Poland, he led his young nation to the final tournament in South Africa as the winner of its group.
"I was trying to boost confidence in the players by stressing that hard work is a key and with that we could make it," Weiss told The Associated Press. "Finally, we succeeded.
"My philosophy is that every player has to be proud of the national jersey."
Weiss has actually worn two of these because the former playmaker went on to represent Slovakia after Czechoslovakia ceased to exist in 1993. At club level, his career included spells with both Czech and Slovak clubs, including Sparta Prague.
Having moved into coaching, Weiss made an impact at European club level by guiding Artmedia Bratislava into the Champions League group stage in 2005, beating favorite Celtic 5-0 during qualifying. He also had a spell at Russian club Saturn, though his biggest success came with the Slovak national team.
Weiss said he wanted to be open-minded, fair and critical toward his players, the same qualities he wanted from coaches during his career. And the approach has certainly struck a chord with his squad.
"The players completely stuck with my philosophy," Weiss said. "I had no disciplinary problems whatsoever."
His top players echoed that view.
Slovakia and Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel said: "With the new coach, the atmosphere in the team has changed. We're really looking forward to playing international matches and we're ready to fight to the end for our country."
With its qualifying results having moved Slovakia up to 36th in the rankings, Weiss is now hoping for more success in South Africa when his team faces Group F rivals Italy, Paraguay and New Zealand.
"I believe in our team spirit," he said. "I believe that we'll play well as a team and that Slovakia could shine there. It's a dream to reach a World Cup. ... It's the biggest event for players and coaches, something extraordinary and special in my career."
Weiss has set his team the objective of reaching the second round in South Africa.
"When we were in Italy as Czechoslovakia, people didn't expect much from us and yet we reached the quarterfinals," Weiss said. "Everything is possible in football and we'll give it a try."


Updated : 2021-05-07 13:29 GMT+08:00