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New Zealand v Slovakia - Weiss senior backs son to shine
15/06/2010  by PA
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Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss has admitted the World Cup pressure is on his starlet son as his team prepares to meet New Zealand in their opening World Cup encounter in the Royal Bafokeng stadium.

Weiss junior, 20, who was on loan at Bolton from Manchester City for the latter part of last season, will almost certainly start in midfield for a Slovakian team participating at a World Cup finals for the first time as an independent nation.

But Weiss senior revealed that the father-coach-son relationship could be tough on both of them.

Weiss said: "He is a very clever boy but it is not easy for him because his coach is his father. And he is not an easy player to coach, but I am sure he will show an excellent performance and will help his team."

Slovakia have been drawn in Group F alongside Italy and Paraguay as well as New Zealand and they are confident of progressing having been impressive in qualifying where they finished above Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Northern Ireland and Poland.

Weiss added: "We are all full of expectation. The atmosphere is very good. It is the peak of the careers of every coach and player and there is a nice tension. We will play with modesty but will be going for a win.

"In our group there is not a top favourite so we will just concentrate on the match ahead of us."

The only doubt is midfielder Miroslav Stoch who has not trained with a knee problem.

New Zealand head coach Ricki Herbert wants more from the 2010 tournament than the souvenir he received from the nation's only previous encounter at the World Cup finals in 1982.

Herbert, a central defender who played for Wolves in the mid-1980s, still has the shirt of Brazil star Socrates hanging up in his home, a legacy of a 4-0 defeat by Brazil in a group phase when they lost all three matches.

Victory over Slovakia would give New Zealand their first-ever World Cup triumph and Herbert said: "It's been a long time, 28 years, and it's good to be back.

"It's a distant memory but a fond memory. I have still got the shirt and hopefully he's still got mine. It was great. They fielded their best 11 against us and it was arguably the best Brazilian team they have ever put on the park.

"The players have worked hard to bring the nation to a World Cup and it's a special time for New Zealand. We're in really good space and just itching to get our World Cup campaign under way."

Ivan Vicelich, New Zealand's most-capped player, will figure in a four-man midfield with Tim Brown having been ruled out with a shoulder problem.

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