On Tuesday, when Slovakia faced New Zealand in Rustenburg, midfielder
"He's not an easy player to coach," Weiss said, "but of course it's beautiful for him to have a coach as a father and for me to have him as a player. My son is a very clever boy who can play football. It's not easy for him because the coach is his father, but I believe he will play well here."
Vladimir Weiss is himself the son of a Vladimir Weiss who played international football, his father having turned out for Czechoslovakia as it won silver at the 1964 Olympic Games. He then represented Czechoslovakia at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, coming off the bench in the wins over Austria and the USA, and playing from the start in the 2-0 defeat to the hosts. He spoke on Monday of how the design of the Royal Bafokeng Stadium stirred memories of the Artemio Franchi in Florence, where he made his two substitute appearances, and spoke of the World Cup being the peak of the career of either player or manager.
He clearly anticipated the question about picking his son, and while his words were measured, his delight that his son has followed in the family tradition was obvious. Few, anyway, would dispute that Weiss the younger is, at 20, a wide midfielder of great promise, and worth his place in the national setup. Chances may have been limited for him at Manchester City, but he impressed in a loan spell at Bolton Wanderers last season, showing a quality of touch and a crossing ability to suggest he may exceed his father's total of 31 caps for Czechoslovakia and Slovakia. With nine, he has already eclipsed the three his grandfather managed.
The Weisses should beware, though, for past father and son combinations have rarely worked out well at World Cups in the past:
The first father to pick his son in a World Cup was
Nobody quibbled when
That was not a happy tournament for Italy, though, and it went out to France on penalties in the quarterfinal, the third time Paolo Maldini had been eliminated from a World Cup by that method.
Croatia was awful at the 2006 World Cup. It wasn't just that it went out in the group stage having failed to win a game; it was the manner in which it underperformed. It was brutish and physical, impossibly far from the imaginative creativity of legend. The resentment had to find a focus, and it homed in on
Niko, anyway, was a useful scapegoat, having alienated half the nation by leaving Dinamo Zagreb for its arch-rival Hajduk Split midway through 2004-05, and then the other half by playing badly for his new club. Joining Portsmouth after the tournament came as a welcome release.
At least all the other sons got a game. Not poor
Michael won his first caps before his father took charge of the national team in 2006, but it is under Bob that he has really established himself. If there were suspicions of nepotism at the start, they have surely gone now. Michael played a key role in the U.S. team's run to the final of last summer's Confederations Cup, and has established himself in both the Dutch Eredivisie and the German Bundelsliga (where he currently plays for Borussia M'Gladbach). Bradley was excellent in preventing