Winning only thing that matters for Aussie skipper

Socceroos captain Lucas Neill is happy to take a 1-0 win in the 95th minute, if it means that Australia will qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals.

Socceroos captain Lucas Neill is happy to take a 1-0 win in the 95th minute, if it means that Australia will qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals.

With all the talk about playing entertaining football, Neill was quite emphatic in saying that the result is paramount and that playing entertaining football will be a bonus, if it turns out that way.

“I will take a 1-0 in the 95th minute and that-s all I am worried about,” Neill said. “I-m not worried about how many goals or how we please the crowd. The best way to entertain you and please you is to tell you that we are in the World Cup and the only way to do that is to get points and it doesn-t matter how we get them.

“You can criticise the players and the team anyway you want, but ultimately we are undefeated in four games and we are possibly just one win from a World Cup and that-s the only target we have. We are not here to be entertainers; that is a bonus.”

The West Ham United skipper has been the one constant in the defence since the fourth and final round of the qualifiers started and he is keen to maintain the imposing record of four clean sheets in a row.

“We are going to be solid; hard to beat and from a personal point of view I want to keep a zero scoreline for the opposition.

“This would be the fifth game in a row where we won-t concede a goal and that-s all I am worried about. Let the guys that are paid the money to score goals, score the goals and I will worry about keeping a tight ship at the other end.

“I said a 1-0 in the 95th minute, is just as good as a 2-0 or 3-0 win with lots of back heels, flicks and tricks.”

Neill knows that Uzbekistan, despite having to travel straight after their game on Saturday, will be no pushovers.

It-s not going to be easy, they are technically a very good team; they have nothing to lose and they are going to come here like it-s a World Cup final and give everything they have.

“If they win tonight (which they did 4-0) then they are well and truly back in the running to qualify for the World Cup.”

Neill is certainly looking forward to the buzz of playing in front of his home crowd again and says it always gives the team a huge lift with the support they get from the Australian public.

“It certainly helps Look we always get a fantastic crowd whether it Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne and I am sure this will be no different in Sydney on Wednesday.

“I think if you look at the results; we-ve played well at home, we have scored goals and other teams have come here and felt a little bit intimidated and we-d love to get that feeling again.

“I am very proud to be Australian, as are all the guys and to play in front of your family and friends and there is no better feeling.

It-s a great chemistry we have in this country and in particular for football and long may that continue.”

Having spent some time with players from the Granville Waratahs at the launch of the Australian Football Awards yesterday, Neill said that from now the whole focus would now be on beating Uzbekistan.

“With nine days preparation it makes it a lot easier than the 24-48 hours that we are used to. It-s going well; preparations have been a little bit slow; little bit inconsistent at the moment with various commitments and training in between public appearances.

“But they are now all going to stop and we can focus solely on the game, which is obviously why we are here.

“We always make sure when we come back here that we spend a little bit of time with the public and raising the profile of the game here, so that-s done, but the best way to raise the profile is to win the game that could possibly take us to South Africa.”

Tickets are still available for the match against Uzbekistan. To purchase your tickets, go to or phone on 132 849 or they can be purchased from all Ticketek outlets.

*ANZ Stadium referred to original name of Stadium Australia, due to rules of Asian Football Confederation.