Former Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek has given a scathing assessment of Australia’s chances against his native Holland when the two teams face off tomorrow morning (Australian time).
Verbeek, who was widely criticised by fans and media for failing to regenerate the national team, characterised the new-look Socceroos as fatally “vulnerable” and “inexperienced”.
In an interview with Dutch media at the World Cup, and transcribed for footballcentral.com.au, the 58-year-old also shot down any hopes of the Ange Postecoglou’s youthful line-up scoring against the Oranje.
Verbeek was replaced after the 2010 World Cup where Australia fielded the second oldest team in the tournament with a preferred starting line-up averaging 31.5 years.
Asked whether the Netherlands would secure the win in Porte Alegre, Verbeek said: “Oh, (Holland) will win this game, not a single doubt.
“I don’t see any possibility that Australia will score a goal against the Netherlands.”
If Postecoglou's men needed any added motivation heading into the clash against the mighty Dutch then the ex-national team mentor provided it.
“(Holland) should go for an extra attacker,” he said.
“We have to attack from the flanks, but also through the middle. (Australia are) so inexperienced at the back.
“They are very vulnerable at the back. So I think we’ll score at least three goals.”
footballcentral.com.au reported one bizarre moment during the interview when the vision cut to Verbeek with his hands on heart apparently mocking the Australian national anthem as it played.
Verbeek got many fans offside with his dismissive attitude of the A-League and the die was cast when the Socceroos were humbled 4-0 in the opening World Cup game against Germany in 2010.
His successor, Holger Osieck, was also tardy in renewing the team and was replaced by Ange Postecoglou who had just eight months to fast track Generation Next for the world's biggest sporting event.
But in an interview with Fox Sports' Simon Hill, Verbeek was more upbeat, reflecting on the Socceroos fightback in their opening game against Chile.
"After 15 minutes I was shocked," he said.
"I thought at 2-0 behind, there was a chance it could be a disaster, but they showed the mentality of not giving up.
"If you give them an idea they can get something, they will go for it – and the goal from Timmy (Cahill) made a big difference.
"You saw the chance of Bresciano – that could have been a goal too, and then they are back in it at 2-2. I think they did very well in the defensive transition – they didn’t give anything away, and on the counter-attack they were very dangerous with Leckie.
"And every ball with Timmy in the box is dangerous."
Under Verbeek’s more conservative tactics, the Socceroos defeated the Dutch 2-1 on their own turf in 2008 and played out a dour 0-0 draw at home the following year.
Meanwhile, compatriot and Australia’s Technical Director Han Berger emphasised the long-term vision of the Socceroos to 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.
Australia take on the Netherlands at Estádio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre, from 2am Thursday morning (AEST)1 comment