Verbeek close to a final squad
Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek was still not giving much away, but indicated he is close to finalising his squad for the first game of Australia’s 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign against Qatar on Wednesday February 6 in Melbourne.
Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek was still not giving much away, but indicated he is close to finalising his squad for the first game of Australia-s 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign against Qatar on Wednesday February 6 in Melbourne.
While several players, including Joel Griffiths, John Aloisi, Steve Corica and Ufuk Talay, were forced to sit out the intense and sharp session at Marconi Stadium, the players on the pitch looked more relaxed than the tenser atmosphere of last week-s training game.
Having put the Hyundai A-League players through their paces for the second time, Verbeek came away with a much better impression of the players. “I am much more informed, I think it was a very good training session,” Verbeek said with a big smile on his face. “I have got a much better impression at the moment, so it-s getting interesting.” “Very close,” he added, when asked how far advanced he is with his team selection. “I think for 90 per cent I know what I'm going to do. I will wait for the weekend; I will wait for the next training camp and then I'll have a very good impression for my plans of the Qatar game and the China game."
One of the key things Verbeek will be looking for in the next few weeks and the final training camp will be to see which players are mentally strong. With each match of the final round of the Hyundai A-League a real pressure-cooker, the Dutchmen will certainly get to see which players will be up to the challenge.
“I-ll definitely look for players that are mentally strong, because the pressure will be unbelievable for the home game. There will be 55,000 people; we know we have to win; so I have to also find out what the mental strengths of our players are.
“The more big games they have; it-s better for the development of the players. Every game is a final now, so that-s good for their education and how to get used to the pressure that-s on their shoulders.”
Verbeek, while not totally saying no new players will be looked at in the last training camp, has not ruled out calling Craig Moore into his final squad, despite his absence from today-s camp and the players announcement last week that he is available if needed. A groin injury picked up in the first half against Sydney FC, which has left him doubt for next weekend-s match against Adelaide, went some way to explaining why he was not in Sydney.
“I spoke with Craig about it and he said ‘if you need me I will be there-. That-s good; that-s what I like to hear and then it-s up to me to find out if I can use him for these very important games.
Asked if he needed him, Verbeek was at his cagey best, saying “We-ll see on the February 6”.
The former South Korean coach is also adamant that Qatar will come to Melbourne and defend and try to hit Australia on the counter-attack.
“They will defend; for sure they will come to play counter-attack. They will not come to attack; they will just wait and wait till we make a mistake. “You heard me coaching (during the training session); you cannot lose balls in the midfield; you cannot lose balls in the backline; you-ve got to be very careful with that because they are very quick, fast strikers. They will try to keep the pitch very small and wait for their chances on the counter-attack; that-s what you can expect.
“Against Iran (0-0 draw two weeks ago) they had a lot of chances, but its still friendly football and its always different. The moment there are 55,000 people in the stands; the moment there is pressure, then it-s a completely different game.
“They are still a dangerous team, but so are we.”
Tickets for the match at the Telstra Dome in Melbourne are still available and can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com.au