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Orth, the centre-forward

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-07-25 10:56:47

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
Unknown | 25/09/1924

Great centre-forwards — The soul of the attack — The genius of football — The play of the centre-forward — The ideal centre-forward.

The centre-forward: Orth.
If we ever look for the player who could best fulfil the role of football's greatest player on the Hungarian pitch, he is the only one we can think of. Woodward could have been a greater forward, Kuthan could have been bald in all the glory he won at centre-forward, Schaffer could have been the uncrowned king of the pitch, Karlsson could have been exalted to the skies by Swedish enthusiasm and chauvinism, The Spanish experts could say all the colourful, glorious adjectives about Alcantara. Orth, who played on Sunday, remains the best, most perfect Hungarian centre, which is as much, if not more, than being the most successful player of any other nation.
The play of the centre-forward is the most important and biggest contributor to the success of any team. Under normal circumstances, with opponents of a sufficiently equal level, it is virtually impossible to build a clever attack without the centre-forward playing an important role. If the forward line itself initiates the attack, as it does at the start, it is quite natural that the whole attacking line should move forward according to the plan and will of the centre-forward. He will start one wing or the other, and from there the ball will cross the half-court and come back to the centre-forward, in front of the goal, where the result will be born. But even if the pass has come from the back, from the half-back line, or from the full-backs, while the ball may be played from half-court to the opponent's goal — whoever is the first to receive it from the forwards — there is hardly a case in which the centre-forward has not had a substantial say in the action.
In a back-and-forth game, the centre-forward is the constant point of the forward line, where the leader of the attack must be alert to intervene in the contest. If the winger is rushing forward and the opposing defence is at his grave, just one pass in — the insider may be further back — and the centre-forward has the ball, the defence turns its attention to him and there is bound to be an empty man to the right or left who can pass the ball on in good position. For this action to run smoothly and without a hitch, it requires, above all, a great deal of technical preparation. If the centre-forward cannot catch the ball accurately but it jumps away from him, if his kicking is uncertain, if his ball control is not precise, the opponent hears it, his goalkeeper will ensure that the attack is stopped.
If he came from a high position, he almost put his foot in front of it himself, if he swept sharply and slid it alongside his shoe, if he went a little further back than he should have, he juggled it with juggling skill, or bounced it in the direction he needed the ball. No other forward we have had has such consummate ball-handling skills as Orth. Just think of the first division matches. How many good actions, how much precious will was lost when the pass bounced off the centre-forward's foot or he could only get full possession of the ball with great fumbling and turning. How many times Opata darted aimlessly after a ball that had just dropped. Pataky often preferred to pass from the holes — it's true that he is a master at it — and if we watch the other centres-forwards, we can discover the technical mistakes in them, without which there is no first-class, outstanding centre.
Technical skill is an important requisite in every footballer, and when it is honed to such perfection in a man as in Orth, we believe him to have deliberately pushed his twisted pass between the opponent's two legs to the insider. But the centre-forward's big, inventive job is to direct the attack, create situations and build combinations in a sensible way. He has to direct and plan in the middle of the forward line, but in a matter of moments. Every good action can only be useful if the opponent has no time to parry it, neither at the first nor at the other moves, and every attacking plan can only be successful if it is built up and executed in a matter of moments.
From what has been said, it follows that it is the responsibility of the centre-forward to use the moments that arise to the advantage of his team. He must direct the ball from the side or the back with a sure foot to the place where his team-mates are best placed and his opponents are least well placed. To see when which insider is in a better position, to explain by quick positioning that he has pushed the ball under the opponent's nose only to run over it and get it back in a better position, is a higher science of the centre-forward. A good coach can train the centre-forward, an imaginative forward line can help the centre-forward, but in the heat of the game, exploiting the moment and producing unexpected ideas is the science of the footballer born to be a centre-forward.
Ideas and inspiration cannot be learned and mastered from others. You can learn certain tricks, you can learn all the technical knowledge that someone shows you, but the lightning-fast planning, the unexpected moves that produce results, come from the player's instinct, his instinctive football genius, which is different in everyone, if it is there at all.
It's this knowledge that makes football enjoyable even when we see the same players week after week, because a born footballer can always do something new, something surprising, something unexpected.
Orth wove the threads of his plans on Sunday as if he were reproducing his concoctions after a long study. Yet his every move was born of the moment, his every plan, his every idea was born of the situation. Whatever happened, he played with desire and will, and whatever the situation, he had an idea to help him out.
If the opponent attacked in the hope of success, he passed right or left, forward or backward, but he never let the ball be taken away. If there was no danger, he would go alone towards the goal, and if he had no partner in a good position, he would draw the opponent on with a dribble, and someone would be standing clear to his right or left, and he would get the ball.
Orth did not score a goal on Sunday, yet his name was loud in the stands, which were packed with thousands of spectators. Every triumph was his, every success was his, and he led the Hungarian forward line to success. All the necessary ingredients of a good centre-forward shone through his game. His juggling technique was astounding, his tactical sense baffled the opposition, his confidence and superiority stood out from the two eleven. He will be the ideal centre-forward for a long time to come, and his play on Sunday was once again valuable, big and memorable.
And if we think back to the recent past, we are puzzled to ask why this blessed centre-forward played right-half in Paris.