Predictable Pim

March 6, 2009

What a disgraceful performance. What a clueless, skillless, insipid, predictable display. Frankly, what an embarrassment.


The aptly nicknamed Pim Verbleak put out a side lacking not only in creativity, but balance. No balance on the right – the defensive Mullen and the plodding Pondeljak with a licence to drift inside. As a result – nothing happened from the right for almost the entire match.


No balance in the middle – the defensively minded Reid and the hardworking but predictable McKay. Result – no penetration from the middle of the park, just predictability.


So not only did we not have the ability to create something from the middle, but we had no structure to receive the ball out wide. All the creativity was expected to come from young Michael Zullo, who was unsurprisingly tightly marked by the motivated Kuwaitis, and resorted to Tiattoisms as a result.


Shorn of creativity out wide and through the middle by Verbleak, Australia was predictable, boring and technically and tactically inferior to Kuwait. Where do people get the arrogance to assert that our third best side is going to wipe the floor with the best Kuwait has to offer?


Verbeek talks about combinations. Why not the defensive Mullen and the attacking Travis Dodd on the right? Or if Pondeljak is his thing, then why not let him cut inside, and play Tarek Elrich at rightback, giving us good attacking balance on that side of the field?


Why not McKay and Murdocca Ckay to do the graft, and Murdocca to do same plus occasionally take on his man and start something from deep? Or even Reid and Barbiero for that matter…


If I had the chance to interview Verbeek, I would ask him the following:


Q) Why was there no balance on the right?


Q) Why were there essentially two defensively minded central midfielders on the park at the same time?


Q) Why oh why were no wingers or strikers on the bench? OK Allsopp was injured, but why not Sash Petrovski? Or Alex Brosque? We could’ve done with a bit of guile around the box. And with the quality of our dead ball delivery at an all time low, PLUS no replacement wingers, wouldn’t Shannon Cole have been a good option as a substitute?


Q) Why weren’t “flair” players like Dodd, Murdocca and Alex Brosque at least on the bench?


Q) Why were Asia based players like Jade North and Joel Griffiiths not called up to the squad?


Q) With only central midfielders and defenders on the bench, what was his plan should we go a goal down?


The Socceroos, having run out of options with 15 minutes left to play, resorted to the tried and trusted Route 1 long ball into the Kuwaiti box. Quite honestly, I found that embarrassing beyond belief. Is that the best we can do under pressure? Long ball after long ball?


Verbeek has proved that he can coach top line, battle-hardened European professionals to near World Cup qualification. Given a silk purse, he’s made a silk purse.


Given a sow’s ear in the shape of a bunch of A-League based Socceroos, he only contrived to produce another sow’s ear of a performance. To do that, we don’t need an imported coach – Arnie, Frankie, Viddie, Ernie or Lawrie could’ve done that. And cheaper.


Coaching is about taking a bunch of individuals and making them into an effective team. Playing to the group’s strengths. Avoiding its weaknesses. Verbeek has shown none of that.



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February 23, 2009