Kewell wants to play 90 minutes in Doha
Socceroos captain Harry Kewell is looking to step up his contribution against Qatar, by playing a full 90 minutes in the top of the table clash in Doha.
Dubai: Socceroos captain Harry Kewell is looking to step up his contribution against Qatar, by playing a full 90 minutes in the top of the table clash in Doha.
So far coach Pim Verbeek has resisted the temptation to play Kewell for a full 90 minutes, since returning to playing in matches against Ghana three weeks ago. He has roughly played anywhere between 65 and 75 minutes in the three matches, but he would like to see how far he has come and try to play the full 90 on Saturday night.
However that might not be possible, especially when you consider that he could well be playing as a lone striker once again, which will zap him of energy, given the amount of running that is required in that role.
“I-m okay; I feel alright,” he said, where the team was guests of honour at an Australian Business in the Gulf luncheon in Dubai on Wednesday.
“I was hoping to play 90 the other day (against Iraq), but with the heat you can-t physically play 90 in that. The manager knows the right time to take people off and put them on,” he added.
With Verbeek opting to play Kewell as a lone striker against Iraq last week, at least in the first half when they looked to play it tight and control the tempo defensively, he often found himself isolated, but his importance to the team was evident, as he usually coincided with Australia-s best chances on goal.
It was his burst of speed that set up Jason Culina for what appeared a clear penalty after 20 minutes and it was another burst of speed and his direct attack play that saw him crudely fouled on the edge of the box near the end of the first half.
The second half introduction of Brett Holman saw Australia-s attack look more potent and an exquisite back heel pass from Kewell set up Holman for Australia-s best chance for an equalising goal, which the latter was unable to finish off.
Verbeek gave the hint at training that this might be how he starts against Qatar on Saturday, but Kewell was not sure which way they would play this one.
“We haven-t discussed formation; discussed tactics yet,” he said. “We-ve been working on a few things, but everything-s still out in the open.
“You ask any player and their first initiative is to attack; we love to attack,” he said, when asked if a more attacking approach was needed against Qatar. “Don-t get me wrong, I-d love to have about 20 chances and score 20 goals, but it-s not the case and that-s why they don-t put people like me in charge.
“They put a good manager in place and he has to look at the other situations; he-s got a good team behind him and they are sitting down; day in, day out and trying to work out the best tactics to go across to Doha with.” Kewell also said the team will have no excuses if the team doesn-t come away with at least a result from the game, despite the expected hotter conditions in Doha.
“I was told that the weather was a little bit cooler yesterday and I did wonder why we running around a lot more; the boys looked really sharp yesterday, which is fantastic.
“Doha is a little bit hotter than here, but we-ve had enough time here now and I don-t think the weather will play a major thing; it will be there, but we are not going to make any excuses.”
Kewell is not sure what to expect from Qatar, given he didn-t play in the 3-0 win in Melbourne; but since then they have gone unbeaten to join Australia at the top of the group table.
“I didn-t play them the first time we played them, so I am not sure what to expect. I-m sure they will come out; they-re a good team; they-ve got a few of their players back now, who will cause us some problems. But we-ve got players that can cause them problems as well.
“It-s going to be an interesting game.”