Pim won't risk yellow card lockout
Qantas Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek has confirmed that he won’t start any of the players carrying a yellow card into Wednesday night's World Cup qualifier against Japan, saying he wanted to have his full squad available when the World Cup kicks off in South Africa next year.
Qantas Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek has confirmed that he won-t start any of the players carrying a yellow card into Wednesday night's World Cup qualifier against Japan, saying he wanted to have his full squad available when the World Cup kicks off in South Africa next year.
There are 11 Australian players carrying a caution from early in this stage of qualifying, meaning another yellow in the match against Japan at the MCG would see them suspended for the first match of the showpiece South African tournament.
Eight of them are already unavailable for a variety of reasons, but the three who are still in the squad, Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak and David Carney will not start the game. With 19 outfield players to choose from, Verbeek will not risk that trio unless absolutely necessary.
"We have 19 players and three goalkeepers fit, so every player who trained yesterday is ready to play the game tomorrow. That looks good. They are fit and are very willing to play in this beautiful stadium," Verbeek said.
"Every player with a yellow card will not start. I have to make up my mind about the players who are sitting on the bench. But in principal I will not take any risk with a player with a yellow card. The moment they go on the field, they forget and they do what they always do. I think it's better to finish the World Cup qualification with a group that's ready to start the World Cup," he said.
With eight changes likely from the Qantas Socceroos previous match against Bahrain last week, several players are likely to be given their chance to push their case for World Cup selection. Verbeek sees the match as an excellent opportunity to test out his depth against a quality opposition, but is far from set on the 23 who will travel to South Africa.
"I think this is a perfect opportunity for players to show themselves like they did against Bahrain. We do it again, we give players the possibility to start and play in the big game," he said.
"But I've also told my players already, I will not make a decision for the World Cup because of the fact that they play a good game or a bad game tomorrow evening. They have a whole year to prove to me and themselves that they are in the final selection for the World Cup."
Verbeek has seen the World Cup qualification campaign, which has taken in 14 games across the past 16 months, as nothing but a very positive experience for his team, and he said that he is very proud of what they have achieved.
"I have only high points. Every second of my stay in Australia, and outside of Australia with my players was fantastic. I enjoyed every second of the last one and half years and I'm going to enjoy the upcoming 13 months as well," he said.
"We did fantastic, I think. Great results. We scored more than enough goals, seven games clean sheets, I'm so proud of my players. We are going to play a big game tomorrow to finish it off and then we deserve a nice break before they start quite early in the European leagues. No downs only ups."