Could Pim Verbeek have been right all along?

apaway Roar Guru

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    Pim Verbeek in his time as Socceroos coach. AAP Image/Julian Smith

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    There is no way to sugar-coat Australia’s loss to Jordan in this morning’s World Cup qualifier in Amman.

    It was a shock loss and a shocking performance, and while it hasn’t torpedoed the Socceroos chances of qualification for Brazil 2014, it has seriously shaken them.

    At the same stage of the last campaign under Pim Verbeek, Australia sat comfortably on top of their group, having not conceded a goal, and having “won ugly” in the Middle East.

    This time around, the Socceroos aren’t even “losing pretty”.

    Verbeek’s pragmatic approach meant the Socceroos defence remained watertight and his two screening midfielders – usually any combination of Vince Grella, Jason Culina and Walter Valeri – provided coverage to the back four so that the Socceroos never had to chase the game in any of the 2010 qualifiers.

    In fact, they only fell behind once in the final phase group, in the last game against Japan at the MCG.

    At the other end of the park, Josh Kennedy, Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill provided the strike power when it was needed, and Bret Holman started coming in to his own as an attacking midfielder.

    But that was then.

    Holger Osieck injected more attacking options in the Socceroos originally and even this morning they did create chances. But the Jordanian keeper was playing to the cameras for most of his saves and was never seriously tested. Alex Brosque was poor.

    Tim Cahill worked his socks off as he usually does but I still think he is better utilised arriving in the box late from midfield. He’s not a natural striker – indeed no player on the park for this game looked remotely comfortable in the penalty area.

    Getting rid of Osieck has been mooted from a number of disgruntled sources but I don’t think that is a wise short term strategy. But the experienced German coach does have some issues to fix before the next game against Iraq, who are a far better football team than Jordan, which is a bit scary for the Socceroo faithful.

    I think Matt McKay and Brett Holman are both excellent players but were not utilised to their best effect in the positions they played in.

    Holman is at his best playing behind the strikers, while McKay is a natural left-sided player with the enrgy to get beyond the opposing fullbacks, something the Socceroos did very little of.

    It may be argued that pushing Holman to the centre means no room for Mark Bresciano and Timmy Cahill but both of those players can be used in other roles – Bresciano can play deeper and Cahill can play beside Holman in behind a striker if need be.

    Defensively, the Socceroos have problems they did not face four years ago. Lucas Neill and Sasa Ognenovski are magnificent servants to the Socceroo cause but it doesn’t take a genius to see that pairing them together without the kind of coverage the tireless Grella used to provide leads to dangers on the edges of the area.

    Luke Wilkshire can still go but David Carney is surely living on borrowed time. There were questions about his defensive capabilities but he was always an attacking force. Not this morning.

    It will be interesting to see if Osieck turns to the A-League when it starts in less than a month. Maybe he can contact the Department of Immigration and get Besat Berisha and Thomas Broich their Aussie citizenship quick smart.

    Add Erik Paartalu and Ivan Franjic into the mix and some of the problems evident from this morning might not appear to be so problematic. And of course James Troisi, James Holland, Tommy Oar and NIkita Ruykavitsia are waiting in the wings.

    That’s something Pim Verbeek would never have done. But Osieck may have to.

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    The Crowd Says (24)

    • September 12th 2012 @ 4:04pm
      Pete said | September 12th 2012 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

      I believe it’s Carl Valeri in the Socceroos midfield. Walter was his dad I think?

      • September 12th 2012 @ 4:11pm
        Minister for Information for the Democratic People's Republic of Football said | September 12th 2012 @ 4:11pm | ! Report

        Give Walter Valeri a run. How much worse can it get in our defensive midfield?

      • Roar Guru

        September 12th 2012 @ 7:12pm
        apaway said | September 12th 2012 @ 7:12pm | ! Report

        Good pick up, Pete. Playing Walter would really have the ageists in a spin!

    • September 12th 2012 @ 4:53pm
      TC said | September 12th 2012 @ 4:53pm | ! Report

      It’s amazing what Pim had to go through regarding the public’s reponse to him, when in reality, qualifying last time was a lay down misere – basically all done and dusted 3 games into the final qualifying round. It was so easy, people forgot that these things are rarely so easy.

      TC

      • Roar Rookie

        September 12th 2012 @ 5:06pm
        Stevo said | September 12th 2012 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

        Pim was correct all along but his message that ‘we didn’t have the cattle’ was one that many didn’t want to hear. It wasn’t pretty under Pim but the job was done. Compare and contrast that with where we’re at now.

    • September 12th 2012 @ 5:08pm
      Titus said | September 12th 2012 @ 5:08pm | ! Report

      It was a slow disintergration beginning with Pim.

      There has been no regeneration and there is still no regard for the a-league where the bulk of your young players playing regularly are.

    • September 12th 2012 @ 6:20pm
      Me too said | September 12th 2012 @ 6:20pm | ! Report

      we no longer have the cattle. doubt we ever will have again. our ‘golden’ era over. bosnich, schwarzer, cahill, viduka, moore, neil, vidmar, kewell, bresciano, grella, skoko, okon, chipperfield, foster, agostino, muscat, lazaridis, tiatto, emerton, zdrilic, popovic, sterjovski, culina, aloisi, kennedy, kalac…
      i could go on but it’s too depressing. Especially when you add that that same generation the talent that decided to play for other nations like croatia and even italy.

      of our current list, only holman would get near that squad. And all we got from that list were two world cup qualifications.
      the reality is we don’t have the talent to expect anything more than hope we may upset the odds and qualify.
      good luck guys!

      • September 12th 2012 @ 6:45pm
        Titus said | September 12th 2012 @ 6:45pm | ! Report

        I disagree…….I think the end of NSL/beginning of a-league caused a massive upheaval but I think the next generation is starting to come through. Unfortunately they aren’t being brought through because we are persisting with players who are old and not playing.

      • September 12th 2012 @ 7:13pm
        TC said | September 12th 2012 @ 7:13pm | ! Report

        God-zdrilic?? Are you having a laugh??

        TC

        • September 12th 2012 @ 7:53pm
          Me too said | September 12th 2012 @ 7:53pm | ! Report

          oops, meant zelic. no disrespect to zdrilic, but oops.

          • September 12th 2012 @ 8:14pm
            TC said | September 12th 2012 @ 8:14pm | ! Report

            heh, heh – now that makes a whole lot more sense!

            Including Zelic definitely strengthens your argument – how we’d love someone like Zelic now – no one comes even close.

            TC

            • September 13th 2012 @ 8:39am
              Minister for Information for the Democratic People's Republic of Football said | September 13th 2012 @ 8:39am | ! Report

              Thought the same thing when I read it Cat. Fozzy’s inclusion in this eclectic bunch is also a little questionable along with one or two others.

    • September 12th 2012 @ 9:14pm
      Ballymore said | September 12th 2012 @ 9:14pm | ! Report

      I would enjoy the likes of Franjic, Paartalau and co. getting a run in the WCQs, however only one (1) WCQ occurs during HAL season. That one is March 2013. (I’m not counting OCT since HAL will only be 1-2 matches old).

      Perhaps Vidosic, McKain or Djite’s ACL efforts means they’ll be at top gear come the Iraq game?

      Also, I always thought it unfair that Pim’s inpressive reign was defined by a 90 minute car crash in Durban.


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      • Roar Guru

        September 12th 2012 @ 10:49pm
        apaway said | September 12th 2012 @ 10:49pm | ! Report

        True enough, Ballymore. The Durban game was a disaster but given Germany put 4 goals past both England and Argentina, neither of who had one of their key player sent off after 50 minutes, it almost didn’t look so bad.

        • September 12th 2012 @ 11:35pm
          dasilva said | September 12th 2012 @ 11:35pm | ! Report

          Well the same German side lost 2-1 to Serbia and had a hard fought victory over Ghana where Ghana had their chance to take the lead in that match as well.

          England and Argentina disgrace should not be used as an excused for our disgraceful performance.

          Venables reign is defined by the 2-2 draw to Iran and Verbeek reign will be defined by the 4-0 lost to Germany.

          Sure both managers did some credible performance outside those games but the coaches are remembered on their performance on the games that really matter.

          To me the main difference between Verbeek and Osieck is that Verbeek had good luck such as the Schwarzer save and the Bresciano last gasp winner over Bahrain after being comprehensively outplayed whist that luck is missing for Australia to be able to grind a result after a poor performance where we should havel ost.

    • September 12th 2012 @ 9:14pm
      Ballymore said | September 12th 2012 @ 9:14pm | ! Report


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