Verbeek looking forward after year to remember

Socceroos Pim Verbeek doesn’t like to dwell on the past too much, preferring to concentrate on the future and had to admit that he was a little surprised when told it was a year since he took charge of the team.

Socceroos Pim Verbeek doesn-t like to dwell on the past too much, preferring to concentrate on the future and had to admit that he was a little surprised when told it was a year since he took charge of the team.

Verbeek-s record since taking charge is fairly impressive in those 12 months, with the team winning eight of its 13 games and losing only two. That gives him a win/loss ratio of 80% and when you consider the calibre of games the team has played that record reads very well indeed.

Australia now stands a possible six points from qualifying for its second successive FIFA World Cup appearance and with five qualifiers still to go; Verbeek knows however that last year could all be for nothing if the team doesn-t qualify.

Typically, Verbeek was quite blunt when asked about his record compared to others.

“I never look back, I am looking forward and forward is the next game and that-s Indonesia for the Asian Cup,” he told the media today, having arrived back from Europe yesterday.

“The next game is then Japan away and that is a big game and we are looking forward to that game also. We still need points to qualify (for 2010 FIFA World Cup) and the sooner the better I should say.”

He did admit time have flown by and was glad to back in Australia to spend Christmas here and catch up some more Hyundai A-League games.

“Time is going very fast. I am very happy to be back in Australia; a lot of interesting games coming up; 2 Asian Cup games, 2 World Cup games till the 1st April, so a big time coming up.

“I-m also looking forward to seeing some A-League games to find out if players are stepping up for the coming games. The Asian Cup games will probably be mostly A-League players.”

Asked how he would rate his first year in charge with a mark out of ten.

“I will give my score a 10 if we qualify for the World Cup, but we haven-t qualified yet, so I can-t.

“What I have done so far; I had two jobs when I came here; first was to get enough points to qualify for the next round and we did. Already in the final round of qualification we have played three games for 9 points, so I have nothing to complain about.

“Second part was to create a bigger squad of players; pick up some new players and I think we have quite a big squad at the moment, because we have quite a few players that can play in the Qantas Socceroo team at the moment and we still have some young talented players that have not played yet, but I think might be good enough in the future for 2010.

“So if you look from that part I am very pleased with what has happened in the last 12 months.”

Pressed further on where he thought the team was at since he took over and would we stand up once we qualified for 2010, Verbeek was more than happy with the squads progress.

“I think we-ve showed already in the last year that we can play very good football.

“This year I think we played very well in the first half against South Africa in London, but then I changed five players and it then wasn-t so easy; the Dutch game I think we did very well; Uzbekistan away was a very tough game and winning; home game against Qatar I think was fantastic.

“In every game I think we missed four or five players and there were other players picking up their position and did what they have to do.

“We-re still one and a half years to the World Cup, but my first priority is to pick up the points; we probably still need six points and we have five games, so the sooner the better.”

Verbeek pointed out that the move for the Asian Football Confederation had been a very positive move in footballing terms and believes it will only take Australia further towards the top.

“I think it was a great step to go to the AFC for Australian football, not only for the national team but for the Under 20-s, the Under 17-s, the Olyroos and also playing in the Champions League for our club teams.

“What Adelaide did, you cannot get a better PR; promotion for Australian football than that and now they are in the Club World Cup in Japan at the moment and they play an interesting game tonight also.

“For the players, the clubs it-s a big challenge to be in Asia and all my players are very pleased to be playing in the AFC, because they have something to play for and they know there are no easy games.”

Verbeek confirmed that for the teams- next match against Indonesia in late January he will be looking at mainly Hyundai A-League players for that match and has no doubts the quality is there to field a highly competitive team in these Asian Cup matches.

“At the moment I have 34 players on my list (of Hyundai A-League players), so I will choose out of those players. Again we have five weeks to go and I will visit along with my coaching staff, around 15 games, so if there are one or two players stepping up in the coming weeks, it-s easy to bring them onto that list also.

“I think we have enough quality.”