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Gabriel Hanot: Best players at the 1924 Olympics VI.

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2023-05-03 13:08:24


Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
VI. — CENTRE HALF-BACKS
Gabriel Hanot | 23/06/1924 —

We have seen that, for the designation of the best goalkeepers, backs, and right-half of the Olympic tournament of the 22 nations, there was only the embarrassment of the choice. On the other hand, no player has imposed himself irresistibly at the position of centre-half. All the center-halves of the football world championship were marked by a serious flaw: inequality. Vidal (Uruguay) only provided a truly brilliant game in the final. His matches against Yugoslavia, the United States and Holland had been lackluster; in front of France, he was replaced by the veteran Zibecchi. But he rehabilitated himself before Switzerland. During previous meetings, he had contented himself with blurring the game of the opponents and had only supplied his forwards in addition. In the final, he stood out to everyone's attention, not only by tireless activity and a good decision in stopping opposing players, but also by quick and useful short passes to his team-mates in the offensive. Almost never did he proceed: by big play moves on the wings; which makes me think that Vidal is nothing more than a misguided forward in the half line.
Vidal's direct opponent in the final, the Swiss Schmiedlin, is, on the contrary, more from the back than from the front. He is heavier and therefore less mobile, less prone to dribbling than Vidal; he gives himself air by big kicks towards the sidelines. But his weight and his size, useful generally, are sometimes a handicap to him; for example, when the ground is heavy. We saw it well during the first Switzerland-Czechoslovakia match where Schmiedlin was overwhelmed. Let's remember that following this game he gave way to Menzotti for the second meeting with the Czechs.
The Italian Burlando is also unequal. Excellent against the Spaniards, Burlando was disoriented in front of the Swiss: if the back Caligaris is directly responsible for the victorious goal of the Helvetians, Burlando is indirectly guilty of the average play provided that day by the Italian team.
The Irish Dukees, the Spaniard Gamborena, after he had replaced the sent off centre-half Larraza, made a good impression. But the best overall was the Czech Káďa (Pešek) who, if he weakened at the end of the match, held the pivotal role of the team very well for three-quarters of the game. Clever in the game of the head, skilful in the blocking and in the interception of the balls even fast, clear-sighted in the release and the variety of the attacks, the blond Czech athlete was very useful to his team. It is therefore regrettable that he fell off in the last quarter of an hour.
What is this inequality in the play of the centre-halves? To the need for them to be both sprinters and distance runners and to demonstrate their qualities in an uninterrupted manner.
Due to his position on the field, the centre-half must be constantly in action. If he's not busy in defense, he has work supporting the attack. He is, in the team, the man of perpetual motion. How can we be surprised that we found so few players of this order?
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