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World Cup 2010 Focus: Australia

Posted by Walker Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Australia announced themselves on the world stage in 2006, making just their second World Cup Finals appearance. With a team based mainly in the European leagues, Guus Hiddink’s Australia were only eliminated by eventual winners Italy due to a controversial last minute penalty.

Since then, Hiddink has moved on and Australia have suffered. Key players are now the wrong side of 30, and they had a terrible 2007 Asian Cup. However, new coach Pim Verbeek steadied the ship and led Australia through the new system of qualifiers for countries from Asia and Oceania.

Verbeek has given a new generation of young Australians the chance to impress in his 30-man preliminary squad. He will be without defender Patrick Kisnorbo, who has an Achilles injury, but the same experienced players that shone in 2006 have been named. Fulham’s 37-year-old goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer is fresh from a remarkable season where he reached the Europa League final, and will be protected by 34-year-old Craig Moore and 32-year-old Lucas Neill in defence. The main threat in midfield will come from Tim Cahill, whose two goals in 2006 make him the Socceroos’ all-time top scorer at World Cups. Mark Bresciano, who will leave Palermo at the end of the season, is another experienced campaigner on the wing. Carl Valeri of Serie B’s Sassuolo is an outsider to make the final squad of 23

However Verbeek’s biggest issue is the fitness of Harry Kewell. The Galatasaray forward can be Australia’s best player when he’s at his mercurial best, but injuries have dogged him for years, and a persistent groin injury has prevented him playing in the second half of his club’s season. Verbeek, though, is willing to hazard taking Kewell to South Africa.

“Harry is special, so you can always take a risk with one player like him,” Verbeek argued. “If Harry is fit then he can be a special player for the team, so I will take a risk with Harry.”

Australia will need their best players fit and on form if they are to progress from a group that includes Germany, Serbia and Ghana.

Australia’s provisional FIFA World Cup squad: Adam Federici (Reading), Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United), Brad Jones (Middlesbrough), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham); Lucas Neill (Galatasaray), Craig Moore (unattached), Scott Chipperfield (Basel), David Carney (Twente Enschede), Luke Wilkshire (Dynamo Moscow), Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough), Shane Lowry (Aston Villa), Mark Milligan (JEF United), Jade North (Tromso), Michael Beauchamp (Al-Jazira); Tim Cahill (Everton), Mark Bresciano (Palermo) Vince Grella (Blackburn) Brett Emerton (Blackburn), Jason Culina (Gold Coast), Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar), Carl Valeri (Sassuolo), Mile Jedinak(Antalyaspor), Richard Garcia (Hull), Nick Carle (Crystal Palace), Tommy Oar (Utrecht), Dario Vidosic (Nuremberg), James Holland (AZ Alkmaar); Josh Kennedy (Nagoya), Scott McDonald(Middlesbrough), Nikita Rukavytsya (Twente Enschede), Harry Kewell (Galatasaray).

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1 Responses to World Cup 2010 Focus: Australia

  1. Patrick Said:
  2. Nice work, I do not see them escaping out of the group stage. They should be happy that they qualified.


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