Australia need goals, luck & no more red cards

RUSTENBURG - Australia need a calculator and goals, goals, goals to make it to the next round of the World Cup in South Africa after a battling, 10-man draw against Ghana on Saturday gave them a flicker of hope.

With their two best players sent off in their first two matches in the tournament, the Socceroos may also be hoping for a bit of luck.

A 1-1 scoreline against the World Cup's top African side so far left Australia with one point from two games, with Ghana top on four and Germany and Serbia each with three.

The easiest route into the last 16 would be a thumping victory over Serbia or an, unlikely, second successive loss for Germany.

However, Australia are confident of getting a big win against Serbia in Nelspruit on Wednesday, particularly with the chance of playing the whole match with 11 men.

Coach Pim Verbeek said the way the team had rallied after going a player down showed their belief was not misguided.

"We have to go for it, we have to win this game, there is no alternative," Verbeek said.

"Germany is history, Ghana is history. All we have to do is beat Serbia with at least a four goal difference, so let's focus on that."

Australia showed good spirit to hold off a skilful Ghana after forward Harry Kewell was red carded after just 24 minutes. This was the second time the team had to play a man down with Tim Cahill dismissed during the 4-0 drubbing by Germany.

Cahill, Australia's top goalscorer, will be back for the Serbia match, giving the team a target up front. In two games so far, the team has managed just one goal.

"We played 70 minutes with 10 players and still we created 2 or 3 open chances. You could never prove it but if you play 11 v 11 you can get even more chances," Verbeek told Reuters following Saturday's tie.

"We have no choice, we have to score (against Serbia) or Ghana should beat Germany that is also an option. Or if Germany beat Ghana with a lot of goals then one goal is enough so it is a very interesting Wednesday," Verbeek said.

Captain Lucas Neill had no doubt the world's 20th ranked side will repeat its achievement of Germany 2006 and make it through to the knockout rounds.

"When there is hope, we will stay positive and positive things happen to positive people."

Follow on Twitter
Join on Facebook