Uzbekistan a serious threat says Verbeek
Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek has issued a stern warning that Uzbekistan still poses a serious threat and his players should take nothing for granted in next month’s crucial 2010 FIFA World Cup™ against Uzbekistan at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek has issued a stern warning that Uzbekistan still poses a serious threat and his players should take nothing for granted in next month-s crucial 2010 FIFA World Cup™ against Uzbekistan at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
Verbeek believes the match could be make or break for the Uzbeki side, especially if they don-t get a win four days earlier against Qatar in Tashkent and will be desperate to get a result and keep their World Cup dreams alive, even if it means going through the play-off scenario.
Uzbekistan currently sit bottom of the Round 4 Group A table, three points behind both Qatar and Bahrain, but are pretty much out of reach of both Australia and Japan. While second spot is remote, third is more likely, which will pit them against the third-placed team from Group B in the Asian play-off. If they win that they would then play the Oceania representative for a place at the World Cup finals in South Africa.
Asked whether he thought Uzbekistan will be tough and probably desperate for a result on April 1, Verbeek didn-t hesitate.
“Yeah, of course,” he said. “They can play even for the second place because there is still four games to go; there are 12 points to win.
“Okay that-s the best case scenario of course, but worse case scenario they can still fight for the third place position in the group, which means everything is open.
“They have been very unlucky, where a few times they lost games, especially the last game against Bahrain. They have a good team; they have a strong team and they will fight till the end.
“The game against us may well be their last chance to stay in the race for the World Cup so there will be a lot at stake.”
Uzbekistan-s position on the table has surprised Verbeek, who considered the former Russian state, a serious threat to both Australia and Japan for a top two spot, after they were impressive in the Round 3 qualifiers. However despite their position on the table he knows how dangerous they can be.
“I heard in the last game against Bahrain from our scouts that we had over there that they definitely deserved to win that game; they just forgot to score goals.
“They had the best chances; they were the best team on the field, but you know how it works, they play full risk in the dying minutes to go for the three points and then you lose.
“Japan away, I saw that game recently, because we wanted to see Japan and they (Uzbekistan) did very well. It gives you an idea of how strong and good they are and if a team like that is desperate to get points, they can be very, very dangerous.”
Therefore Verbeek will be pressing upon his players during the week long camp that qualification is still not assured and that Uzbekistan is a potential banana-skin game.
“We are quite a few points ahead of the other teams, but again with four games to go, you still need the points. So we start with Uzbekistan at home; take the three points; go for it and don-t think it-s an easy game, because that-s a big misunderstanding.
“I-m sure my players will not underestimate this Uzbekistan team and I think the public will also understand that this is a big, big game and that we need all the support.”
Tickets can still be purchased for the match on April 1 from Ticketek.