Verbeek’s shortcomings will cost us Cup glory
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Kaiserslauten, Germany, 12 June 2006. Tim Cahill scores a double and John Aloisi ices the cake with an incredible three goals in the final eight minutes to beat Japan 3-1 in their opening World Cup match.
People are dancing in the street, bosses don’t care if people are late for work and Mel and Kochie are draped in Socceroos scarves. Australia is a nation transformed by the power of football.
Four years on, are we going to see the same scenes of pandemonium?
Probably not, and it’s all because of one man – Pim Verbeek.
Just to make things clear, I am not a person who just recently got into football and doesn’t really know much about it. I have played football all my life, supported Brisbane Roar and up until now followed the Socceroos with great passion.
But enough is enough. Pim Verbeek has been one of the worst coaches to take the reins of the Socceroos in history.
Firstly, let’s focus on his record in charge of the Socceroos. Coached 28, won 16, lost 4, drawn 8, with a win percentage of 57%. At first it sounds quite good, but then it is revealed to be nothing special when compared to other Australian coaches.
Guus Hiddink has a record of 12 games, 7 wins, 2 draws and 3 losses, and a win percentage that is marginally better at 58%. But who were those three losses against?
Brazil, Italy and Uruguay – all teams inside the top 15 when they were played and all World Cup-winning nations.
However, it is unfair to compare Verbeek to the best coach in the world. Let’s compare him to the much maligned Frank Farina. Under Farina, the Socceroos, played 58, won 34, drew 9 and lost 15, with a win percentage of 59%.
Kind of weird isn’t it, that a ‘results is everything’ coach doesn’t have as good a record as a man who had a much more open style of play. Very weird indeed.
A common argument in support of Verbeek is that we are expecting too much quality from the national team as we are comparing them to the world’s best teams. That’s rubbish!
Just a simple comparison with Germany 2006 proves that he isn’t performing. The world cup squad in 2006 was: Schwarzer, Neill, Moore, Cahill, Culina, Popovic, Emerton, Skoko, Viduka, Kewell, Lazaridis, Covic, Grella, Chipperfield, Aloisi, Beauchamp, Thompson, Kalac, Kennedy, Wilkshire, Sterjovski, Milligan, Bresciano.
The World cup squad in 2010 has the same core of players. Yet they simply aren’t performing well. There have been disappointing performances against the Netherlands, Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Indonesia, Iraq, China, Japan, Ghana, Kuwait, South Korea and finally New Zealand.
The disgraceful and completely unwarranted tackles by Cahill and Grella are signs of an Australian team who is stressed and underperforming. The volume of these lousy performances has taken shape in the stands, where there are decreasing attendances.
95,000 witnessed Josip Skoko volley home to capture a very solid performance at the MCG. There was a feeling of expectation going into the Germany 2006.
This year 55,000 people witnessed a violent, god-awful display which left many Aussie football fans worrying.
The fact the Holman was man of the match was a true display of how far Australia has sunk under Verbeek. Which brings me to my next point, player selections.
Where do you start with Pim Verbeek’s player selections. They are a series of hypocritic, blind and utterly brain dead selections.
Firstly, let’s start with the formation, 4-3-3. Sorry Pim, but it just doesn’t suit Australia’s players. The front three in that formation actually means one, strong powerful out and out striker and two quick wingers. Arjen Robben and Robin Van Persie are examples of such players. Players we don’t have.
So instead of shifting the formation he put’s Jason Culina there. Sorry Pim but you match the formation around your playing roster not the other way around. If you had Messi and Ronaldo in one team would you say, “sorry, only room for one of you, Ronaldo go warm the bench.”
No. You would choose a way to fit them in the team.
The times that come to mind when Pim changed his formation was when he played a 4-4-2 against Qatar at home on two occasions, with Josh Kennedy and Scott McDonald up front.
The result was an aggregate 7-0, and a handful of assists for McDonald.
So what does Pim do? He never plays that combination again.
And my final note, Brett Holman. Yes he scored last Monday, yippee – that brings an end to a 26-game drought. Yeah, he runs all day. Let’s put the best 11 marathon runners in Australia on the football pitch and watch them run all day.
Verbeek’s player selections are best captured in the Joel Griffiths debacle. I’ll admit he wasn’t exactly a candidate for my 31 man squad. But Verbeek never watched him once, never phoned him once and didn’t even tell him personally that he missed out on the squad.
His only piece of advice to Joel was in 2008 when he said, “You need to work in you defence.”
He’s a striker!
All in all, Australia will fail at South Africa 2010 because of Pim Verbeek and his numerous shortcomings mentioned above.
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