A Velvet Draw for Two Divorcées of European Soccer

“‘Are you seeing the beaches of South Africa for us?’ a reporter asked Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss after Slovakia’s 2-2 draw in a World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic on Saturday night. Weiss smiled tightly and said, ‘Not yet.’ The reporter may have been a tad misguided about the attraction of the beach in South Africa next June – it will be winter there – but his question was illustrative of the country’s focus on qualify for its first World Cup. Weiss’s answer was realistic. But he, like all of Slovakia, can be more than cautiously optimistic. All Slovakia has to do now is avoid defeat and this tiny nation of 5.5 million, long over-shadowed in everything by former partners the Czechs, can make its World Cup debut.” (NYT)

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