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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 3 September 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 3 SEPTEMBER 2016 27 SPORT Anastasiadis: Greens ‘ready to go’ against Melbourne Victory in FFA Cup Bentleigh Greens coach John Anastasiadis believes his players are mentally "ready to go" and require little motivation to take on the biggest club in the land, Melbourne Victory, in their FFA Cup quarter-final meeting later this month. If anything, what's of more concern for the coach is the physical condition and fitness of his players as the team faces a demanding schedule of NPL finals football, beginning with the semi-final against Oakleigh this Sunday, and the FFA Cup quarter-final. Speaking on The Daily Football Show the morning after the quarter-final draw, Anastasiadis said he expects a number of his players to take up the challenge of matching it with A-League opponents. "I don't have to motivate them for games like that. They were all enthusiastic when they drew Victory. We know it's a massive task at hand. They've got some very good players, some massive signings. You don't really motivate those players. There are players there (at Bentleigh) who think they could probably rub shoulders with the A-League players. Well, here's your chance to do it. So prove that you can. Prove it to yourself more than anything. That's more of a motivation. "If a player within himself be- lieves he's better than a Troisi or a Rojas at this stage, this is the stage to prove it. We know that at NPL a lot of kids don't get the opportunity. This is an opportunity against a club like this and players like this, to do that stuff." The Greens won through to their second FFA Cup quarter-final in three years with a hard-fought 1-nil win over Devonport Strikers in Tasmania last Tuesday night when, despite torrential conditions, the visitors dominated with their trademark possession game. In front of a crowd of 3,000, the Strikers held out the Greens for 90 minutes despite the Greens having 34 shots to one, largely through some excellent saves by the Strikers' Canadian import, gloveman Niko Giantsopoulos. He went off injured late in regulation time. The Greens finally breached the Strikers' defence in the 93rd minute when a Jack Webster pass picked out a Tyson Holmes run into the box, with Holmes playing a short ball into striker Matt Thurtell who instinctively blasted the ball into the net for the winner and a place in the quarter finals against Victory. Anastasiadis says although his team of semi-professionals will be cautious against their illustrious A-League opponents, the Greens will still try and play their own game of possession football. "We're not going to sit there and park the bus and let Victory play their game all day. We're going to play our game. It's embedded in them so much, they just want to keep possession, keep the ball and let the opposition run. We'll try and do that against Victory and see what comes out of it." Bentleigh Greens and Melbourne Victory are two of four Melbourne clubs that have reached the FFA quarter-finals. The other quarter-final ties are: Melbourne City v Western Sydney Wanderers Canberra Olympic v Green Gully Blacktown City v Sydney FC The venues and dates of the FFA Cup quarter-finals have yet to be confirmed. Canberra Olympic keeper to take on world’s best in Colombia GEORGE STOGIANNOU The name Angelo Konstantinou came to national attention last week when he became the first goalkeeper to score in an FFA Cup match by opening the scoring for Canberra Olympic in its 2-nil win over Brisbane team Redlands United. Konstantinou's goal from a spot-kick helped his team make history by becoming the first team from Canberra to make it through to the quarter-finals of the FFA Cup. Konstatinou has the chance to become part of another history-making team when he joins the Futsalroos in their bid to become the first ever Australian national futsal team to make it out of the group stages of a FIFA Futsal World Cup tournament. The 37-year-old keeper is part of a 14-man Futsalroo squad which departed Australia for Colombia on Wednesday, where they'll compete in the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup Finals, beginning on 10 September. It will be Konstantinou's second PHOTO: CHRIS KIDD THE MERCURY World Cup tournament as a Futsalroo, the first being the 2012 tournament staged in Thailand, where the team bowed out after the first round in which they were in a tough group containing Futsal powerhouses Italy and Argentina. Despite a creditable group win against Mexico they failed to progress, for a seventh consecutive time at World Cup finals. In Colombia, the team of amateur Futsal players again faces a tough challenge, having been drawn in Group D alongside number oneranked nation Brazil and number eight-ranked nation Ukraine. Also in the group is Mozambique. Konstantinou is part of a contingent of seven players in the current Futsalroo of 14 who played at the previous World Cup. Another keeper in the squad at his second consecutive World Cup is Peter Spathis. As Konstantinou explains, "there's three goalkeepers in the squad. I wouldn't say we're rivals. We're all friends but we all want to be there and playing. That's what it is". He is expecting a different World Cup tournament in Colombia. "Australia being based in the Asian Confederation, we travel to Asia a fair bit. But going into South America I think it's going to be completely different. Just the Colombian people, you're close to Brazil, the South American influence. They're a lot more fanatical. I'm sure (the tournament) is going to get a lot more support in South America. "I think the team has been progressing a lot every year and every tournament that we go to, considering that we're amateurs and that we only train together 10-12 weeks before each tournament. We don't have the privilege of training all year round," he says. The Futsalroos chance of progressing beyond the group stage may hinge on how well the defence can limit the goals conceded against powerhouse teams like Brazil and the Ukraine. "Playing Brazil and the Ukraine, it’s obviously not going to be easy at all, but the two top teams go through and the four best thirdranked teams as well. So it'll obviously come down to goal difference." The squad is in Colombia now for a pre-tournament camp in which coach Robert Varela and his team have organised a number of practise matches. The Futsalroos kick off their campaign on 11 September against Mozambique, a team ranked 52nd in the world compared with the 24th-ranked Australians, and they will no doubt be determined to get off to a winning start, against a team which will also see Australia as its best chance for a win in the group stage. Konstantinou believes getting out of the group stage would provide a fantastic fillip for the game in this country. "I think it would be enormous if we can get out of the group stage. Last World Cup, we won our first game, so hopefully we can take the next step and go through to the next round." As he and the Futsalroos strive to make history, Konstantinou no doubt will be keeping a close watch on the fortunes of his other team, Canberra Olympic, as it competes to win an ACT NPL grand final, an FFA Cup quarter-final against Green Gully and a national NPL quarter-final against the Brisbane Strikers all coming up in a hectic September.
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