Emerton confident of qualification this weekend
Qantas Socceroo Brett Emerton has no doubts that his side can get their qualification for the next phase of the AFC World Cup qualifiers, done and dusted on Saturday night against Qatar in Doha.
Dubai: Qantas Socceroo Brett Emerton has no doubts that his side can get their qualification for the next phase of the AFC World Cup qualifiers, done and dusted on Saturday night against Qatar in Doha.
While conceding it will be no easy task, Emerton is confident his side will bounce back from last week-s disappointing defeat by Iraq, to get the win they need to secure a passage into the next phase.
The right-sided midfielder or attacking fullback, stood out from the teams last training session in Dubai on Thursday evening, before heading to Doha on Friday, as a precaution against aggravating a strained groin muscle that he suffered last week.
Asked how it was going, he said “Yeah, its good; I only sat out that session as a precaution. I haven-t felt it all week, so it-s been a good week of training and obviously looking forward to the game on Saturday.”
While the final session, was just a very light session, with the squad playing games of soccer tennis, coach Pim Verbeek put the team through two intense closed training sessions on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, to finalise team tactics and positions for the Qatar match.
“We trained quite hard,” he said. “Especially yesterday afternoon and quite hard this morning as well." So for me this afternoon, was just a precaution to make sure there wasn-t any damage and I am physically feeling good, as I think all the boys are.”
The Blackburn Rovers star has no doubts that the confidence in the group is quite high and there is no reason why they can-t get the win in Qatar that they need.
“Yeah definitely,” he said, when asked if the mood in the camp is good. “I don-t think we performed badly against Iraq; the confidence is still there and we still firmly believe that we are good enough to go to Qatar and get all three points.
“Obviously we-ve got two games to go and we still need three points, but we don-t want to go back to Sydney needing to win against China, so we-re hoping to get the job done here; we-re confident and we feel we-ve got the team to do it.
One of the main areas that Verbeek has worked on this week is in attack, where goals have been at a premium recently and Emerton could have a bigger contribution to make in this area on Saturday
While Emerton has mainly played as an attacking right fullback, the second half against Iraq last weekend saw him pushed further forward into right midfield to good effect and there is every chance that Verbeek may stick with formation against Qatar and be a bit more attack-minded.
“Defensively we-ve been quite good and haven-t conceded too many; attacking wise, it-s something we have been working on a lot this week. Hopefully it will all come together and we-ll get a few more goals come Saturday.
“I think so,” when asked if he thought they might be more offensive this week. “I think in the second half we performed better than we did in the first half. It was great to see after the limited time we had here to prepare in the conditions and we were running until the final whistle really.
“We-ve had another week to prepare, so physically we should be in much better shape and as far as how we will approach the game, it-s obviously Pim-s decision to see which formation he plays.”
Having won the first game between the two countries convincingly 3-0 in Melbourne, does he believe Australia might have a mental edge over Qatar?
“I think so; they-ll respect us as a team, but we-ll respect them as well. Since we beat them 3-0 in Melbourne, they-ve gone on and done exceptionally well really.
“They are on the same points as us, so its going to be a very tough game and we-ve just got to make sure we approach it in the right frame of mind and everyone give 100%.
“I think if we do that then our ability will show through in the end.”