Verbeek focused on two wins starting with Uzbekistan
Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek is not contemplating any other scenario’s, other than securing two wins from its next two World Cup qualifying games against Uzbekistan and Qatar, to ensure it qualifies for the 2010 World Cup finals.
Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek is not contemplating any other scenario-s, other than securing two wins from its next two World Cup qualifying games against Uzbekistan and Qatar, to ensure it qualifies for the 2010 World Cup finals.
While some believe a win over Uzbekistan at Stadium Australia** in Sydney on April 1 will guarantee its place in the finals, Verbeek will not hear any of it and will only be satisfied once they can no longer be overtaken by any three of the other four teams in the group.
“If we get six points (from remaining four games) we are 100% qualified,” he said at the naming of the squad for the match against Uzbekistan. “If we only have four points, there is a chance we have qualified.
“So if we get three points in our next game, we still need at least one point, because then you go on goal difference from there (if Australia was to lose two of its remaining games).
“So we go for three points; we want three points at home and then we will see what happens from there.”
As has been the norm throughout this campaign, Verbeek once again has to get the full use of his squad, with Brett Emerton obviously out of contention with a long-term injury, while Vince Grella and Craig Moore have been ruled out after picking injuries in the past couple of weeks.
Returning however is Harry Kewell and Michael Beauchamp from injury, while Jacob Burns and Adam Federici come into the 22-man squad after missing the trip to Japan.
Of the four Kewell and Beauchamp are likely to be vying for starting spots, with a lot of interest in who will replace Craig Moore in the centre of defence. The Dutchmen acknowledges that Moore-s loss is big, but has confidence in any of the likely replacements, although he did rule out Kewell playing there, despite his cameo for Galatasaray in the UEFA Cup clash against Hamburg recently.
“It-s very good to see that he can play as a left-sided central defender, especially since Craig is not there,” Verbeek said sheepishly. “Henk Duut was there (in Hamburg) and Harry did very well in his normal position and even did well as a central defender.
“He is fit; he-s ready, he called me last week; he-s very willing to be here, to come and show himself again in Australia and that-s good.”
“I spoke with Craig yesterday and we all think it's impossible for him to be 100 percent fit for the Uzbekistan game, which we all regret," he said.
"Of course, if you lose Craig Moore, who is normally a starting member, every player who is coming into the team is not as good as Craig Moore."
"But Michael Beauchamp is doing very well, Jade North is playing his games in Korea at the moment and we have Chris Coyne, who is playing regularly in the national team."
"So I am not worried at all but it's quite clear if you miss players like Craig Moore you lose something, but it-s a good moment for these other players to show they are back in the national team."
Verbeek was clearly in an upbeat mood, joking with the media on several occasions.
“I-ve no idea,” he said, when asked what he was going to do since he has the team for at least a week of preparation.
“We are very happy to have one week of preparation; that-s something different than what we-ve had in the last months.
“No we-ll work of course on the tactical part of the football. We don-t have to do anything physical, because all the boys are in the final stages of their leagues.
“So physically I-m not worried, it-s more about the tactical organisation; attacking organisation; defending organisation and of course set pieces. We are looking forward to working with the boys.”
Verbeek again reiterated his claim that Uzbekistan is a much better side than their ladder position (last) indicates and that the game on April 1 will be tough. He is not reading into some reports that Uzbekistan will send a second string team or even the youth team, as they still have a lot to play for, especially if they beat Qatar on the weekend prior to the Australia game.
“I hope so,” he said, when asked for his thoughts on these reports coming out of Uzbekistan. “Who cares; the only care we have is that our fans see a good game and that we win; we get the three points.
“That is all that counts.”
“I don-t think they will bring any of the youth team.”
“I saw the games they played in the first qualification round and they are better than what you see on the table.
“Sometimes they were a little bit unlucky, especially the last game against Bahrain. If you see how many chances they had to score a goal and then they lost in the 94th minute.
“They are still a difficult team to beat; difficult to play against. They showed that in Japan away; they played very well and I can remember it was not a very easy game for us over there.
"We did well and had a great result, but we had to work very, very hard to get that result.”
** ANZ Stadium will be referred to as Stadium Australia for this 2010 FIFA World Cup Asian Group Qualifier match in accordance with the requirements of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
A big crowd is expected for the match at Stadium Australia and there are still good seats available.
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