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Gabriel Hanot: Best players at the 1924 Olympics III.
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2023-05-03 21:28:52
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III. — FULL-BACKS
— Gabriel Hanot | 16/06/1924 —
Domergue among the French, the Hojer Brothers in the Czech team, Fogl in the Hungarian eleven, showed themselves, during the matches of the Olympic tournament, of middle class; but the heroes of the event were, at full-back Nasazzi (Uruguay), Denis (Holland), Reymond (Switzerland), McCarthy (Ireland), Salem (Egypt) and Vallana (Spain).
Nasazzi, medium height, very athletic, skilled in the art of getting in the way of the ball, endowed with a sure and powerful heading game, excellent in the way of blocking dribblings, also has a a remarkable underfoot clearance. He takes the ball without worrying about his speed, his angle of arrival, his effect; he hits him with a volley, half-volley, rebound or rolling on the ground, and he sends him to his forwards, in a very tense and precise trajectory. Such a mode of clearing indicates extraordinary eye and technical mastery. Nasazzi's only flaw is nervousness; at the start of games or in certain critical situations, the haste of this defender to clear is so great that he reaches the ball as soon as possible, at the end of the stroke of the high leg; also the ball tends to rise in a vertical candle instead of moving away in a horizontal trajectory.
Denis, a former centre-half, is slower, calmer, less thoroughbred than Nasazzi. But he is also a good dribbler, also an expert at positioning himself where the ball and opponent arrive, just as sure in his clearances. He is less bright and he has less nerve impulses than the Uruguayan.
Reymond, despite his lack of speed, has perfected the art of high-speed interception. He foresees, he warns the moment of the pass between two opponents, launches into the interval of these players and captures the ball. He obviously risks going through with it; yet his clairvoyance is almost never faulted, perhaps one time out of ten.
McCarthy is the powerful, resolute rear, trained in the school of English professionals, tough for the ball and for the opponent.
On the other hand, Salem, handsome negro from Ethiopia, athlete of 1 m. 80, with wonderful flexibility, skill and speed, steals the ball rather than grabbing it brutally. He does not have what is called the classic style; he is content to be surprisingly effective; he succeeds in catching missed balls, past opponents. He is overflowing with activity; he represents the type of the new Egypt, sporty and eager for freedom.
Vallana, who had the misfortune to score the goal for Italy against Spain, is a full-back who does not aim for effect, but simply does, with certainty, his job. He showed, of all the great defenders of the tournament, the greatest sobriety of means, even going so far as to give the impression of stiffness. This valiant full-back, so absolutely master of himself in action, only lost his composure after sending the ball into his own net. He then threw himself on the ground and fell prey to a fit of tears and despair, so overwhelmed was he under a tragic sporting fate.
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