Verbeek looking to fix organisation ahead of next week
Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek admitted his team rode its luck in yesterday’s match against Iraq and will be looking to fix the teams organisation in the coming week for the return clash in Dubai next Saturday.
Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek admitted his team rode its luck in yesterday-s match against Iraq and will be looking to fix the teams organisation in the coming week for the return clash in Dubai next Saturday.
The Dutchmen could afford a smile though, with his teams 1-0 win, while his opposite Adnan Hamad, was left to ponder what might have been for his gallant side that certainly gave Australia a real fright at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
The three points gained by the Socceroos, thanks to Harry Kewell-s 47th minute goal, has cemented its position at the top of the Group A qualifying table and just one more win away from where Verbeek believes the cut off point will be to qualify to the next round.
“Four games and no goals against, but today it was not what we deserved,” he said with a wry smile on his face. “I am very happy with my three points.”
“We started quite nervous in the game and were lucky with the ball on the crossbar (after 5 minutes) and that told the story of the whole game. We gave too many chances away; we were lucky.
“We didn-t use the free player; didn-t always use our qualities, so overall I think, no I-m sure, we can play much, much better,” he added.
Verbeek was particularly unhappy with the side-s start and believed that only spurred the Iraqi team to greater heights throughout the game. But he did praise his teams fighting qualities and never say die attitude.
“I was (surprised by the way Iraq played). But if you compare it to the last games we played, we were in control of the last games against China and Qatar.
“But as I said we started very nervous, giving corners and free kicks away and they are very dangerous at dead ball situations. So we gave the initiative away and gave them the feeling that they could do something over here and I promise you that was not on purpose.
“The feeling we had, was immediately we go for it; try and score an early goal, spaces will be bigger and we then finish it off.
“What I can say about my players of course, is that they never give up. That-s what we always appreciate; okay they are professional players and they play for 50,000 fantastic fans and they were our extra man today, but let-s not forget the Iraqi-s did a very good job against us; made it very difficult.
“I am very happy with the three points, but not with the performance,” he reiterated.
On several occasions the defence was left flat-footed by the speed of the Iraqi attack and but not for Mark Schwarzer again, the score could quite possibly have been completely different.
“I will play with eight defenders,” he says with a laugh, when asked how he will play next week. “It wasn-t individual, it was organisational mistakes tonight.
“I want to see it back, but we never won the second balls in the first half. Ok we played with five attacking players, so that-s why I changed in the second half and that-s why I brought Jason Culina back to get control along with Vince Grella.
“The goal was fantastic and after that, we were always sweating, I think, or at least I was.
“We only trained one session this week with (Michael) Beauchamp and (Jade) North, because Jade was injured and that can be a reason, but I don-t think it-s only that," he said, when asked about some of the defending by Australia. "I thought the coverage from the fullbacks was not good and again we didn-t win enough second balls.
“Organisation wise, we didn-t do a good job. Maybe coaches need to look at themselves and maybe I spent too much time and energy on the attacking organisation and scoring goals this week and maybe I have to change my training intentions.”
On Schwarzer-s performance!
" Great performance from Mark again, that's why he's the goalkeeper. I saw him and said thanks again and he said 'yeah, but that's my job'. He's a good professional and he did a great job, he was always there," he said.
Verbeek said he will wait and see what the best strategy will be for the return game, knowing full well the conditions will have a bearing on the best way forward.
The 40+ degree heat is certain to affect some players more than others and Verbeek, who has experienced it before, is wary of making decisions too quickly.
“It-s not heaven there (in Dubai) at the moment for a football player, so we-ll go there, after a long trip and feel how it is and I will find out the best strategy.
“I am happy to go there with seven points, but I still think we need 10; if we don-t win one of those three games then of course I have to give my contract back.”
“To play in 40 degrees; it-s difficult to play pressure football; it-s an option to play with three central defenders, but then you give a midfield or striker position away.”
Verbeek also has no doubts that the Iraqi team, while obviously devastated at the result, will be a tougher opponent next week and that won-t be just because of the conditions.
“Today they will be devastated. I know them quite well; there will be plenty of Iraqi-s in the stands next week and I promise you they will fight, because they want to go to the World Cup.
“They will go for it; will make it very, very difficult, as from now they also start playing for their pride and the last chance. Maybe they can still get to nine points; they have one, so they can also get to 10 points.”
“We have to have respect for the Iraqi team, they probably had a very difficult week and we have to respect how they performed, because they played well.
“They made it very difficult for us and you can never underestimate this team; they have some fantastic players; they play with their heart and that-s what they will do next week.”