Saturday 25 March 2017

Weiss bans media to unify shaken Slovaks

Sonia Oxley

The birds flying over the training ground made more noise on Friday than the Slovakia players, who have retreated into their shells, reeling from the late equaliser they conceded in their World Cup opener.

Rewind a week and the tournament debutants were happy to talk to the media on the pitch after training every day as they excitedly prepared for their opener.

With Sunday's second Group F match against Paraguay fast approaching, the reporters are now kept behind a fence as the players and coach Vladimir Weiss focus on getting the win they need to stand a chance of progressing.

"The coach doesn't want the players getting distracted by the media," team spokeswoman Marianna Cizmarova said.

"It is as a result of that match (with New Zealand).

"He wants them to concentrate on being a team."

Slovakia had widely been expected to beat the All Whites to go top of Group F and their 1-1 draw has shaken them. They spoke of a "nightmare" after conced-ing the last-minute leveller.

With all the teams in the group level on one point, after Italy and Paraguay also drew 1-1 in their opener, there is a lot to play for.

So if the Slovaks beat Paraguay, they may return to their more talkative selves.

Irish Independent

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