Verbeek: Australia will not score a single goal

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Four years on from Pim Verbeek leading Australia into it’s third appearance in the World Cup, the Dutchman still has a lack of faith in the next generation of players which was evident during his tenure.

When asked by a Dutch presenter whether Holland would walk away winners in Porte Alegre, he answered with absolute cetainty.

“Oh, (Holland) will win this game, not a single doubt,” Verbeek said.

“I don’t see any possibility that Australia will score a goal against the Netherlands.”

Verbeek criticised Australia’s defense labeling it “vulnerable” and “inexperienced”.

“(Holland) should go for an extra attacker. We have to attack from the flanks, but also through the middle. (Australia are) so inexperienced at the back,” he said.

“They are very vulnerable at the back. So I think we’ll score at least three goals.”

The Australian back-line is indeed inexperienced and vulnerable as shown against Chile where the back four had less than 40 caps put together.

Verbeek isn’t without blame in this area, having shown a continued reluctance to cultivate young talent during his time at the helm.

Short-termism was a stingy criticism of Verbeek, as he failed to experiment with the next generation of players  to freshen up an aging squad.

To add insult to injury, there was a bizarre moment of the interview when during it they cut to the presenter and Verbeek with hands on heart almost mockingly as the Australian national anthem played.

Verbeek wasn’t the only one discussing Australia to the Dutch media in the lead up to Australia’s clash against Holland. Australia’s Technical Director Han Berger spent some time speaking to well known Dutch publication De Telegraaf.

“(Australia) play football a bit as they play rugby,” Berger said.

“The ball goes forward as quickly as possible. We have a plan, but it takes a generation before we see results.

“We are therefore very busy preparing the team and have them realise that although the Dutch might be very strong, it is not a mission impossible to achieve,” he said.

The relationship between Australian football and Pim Verbeek ended less than harmonious, and perhaps he hasn’t forgotten the nickname “Pimbecile” given by the Australian media after the crushing 4-0 loss against Germany at the last World Cup.

Recently retired Socceroo Harry Kewell who was controversially left out of the opening game of the 2010 World Cup against Germany by Verbeek, wrote in his column in the Daily Telegraph;

Four years ago I remember us walking off the pitch in Durban having been beaten 4-0 by Germany. It wasn’t the scoreline that made me angry but the fact we didn’t have a go.

One thing that can be sure is that this current Socceroos squad under Ange Postecoglou will “have a go” and play the way Postecoglou teams have been renowned for and that is without fear and with belief in themselves and the manager’s leadership.

EDITORS NOTE: Pim Verbeek interview translated by Minnie Groenstege 

Ahmed Yussuf

ahmed mag pic Ahmed is a Melbourne-based writer, and one of the founders of Football Central. He's written in football culture magazine Thin White Line and others, and along with writing puff pieces, he hosts and produces podcasts in association with Football Central.  You can follow him on Twitter: @ahmedyussuf10

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