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Aussie football coach hopes for Asian Cup finals

3 March 2010 06:05

SYDNEY (AFP) - Coach Pim Verbeek is banking on a largely home-based Australian side to get past Indonesia on Wednesday and clinch a berth in next year's Asian Cup finals.

Australia need a draw to secure a place in next January's Qatar showpiece, but Verbeek has only three first-choice players -- Jason Culina, Josh Kennedy and Luke Wilkshire -- in his squad to take on the out-of-contention Indonesians in Brisbane.

The Dutchman has been burnt in the past fielding a domestic lineup in Asian Cup qualifying, losing 1-0 to Kuwait in Canberra a year ago.

But a lengthy injury list and a short FIFA international window have made it difficult to call on his European-based stars, with Dinamo Moscow's Wilkshire the only first-team regular summoned.

Verbeek, who has already steered the Socceroos to June's World Cup finals in South Africa, is confident he has the players to do the job against the 136th-ranked Indonesia.

"There is no reason to be nervous," Verbeek said. "Of course, we all know with the best players available it could have been easier and we will have to work hard because it will be a hard game.

"Indonesia have no pressure and maybe that makes them more dangerous because they can play free. But I am still confident we can do the job with this selection."

Australia, Asia's top-ranked nation at 23, have only lost once to Indonesia in 14 encounters and have won all their four previous meetings at home.

The Socceroos, fielding a full A-League strength team, earned a scoreless draw with Indonesia in Jakarta in January last year, and are favoured to get a result in rain-swept Brisbane.

Indonesia's 2-1 loss at home to Oman in January ensured they would not advance past the Asian Cup qualifiers for the first time and coach Benny Dollo said a draw against Australia would represent a good outcome for his side.

"I'll consider it a decent result if we do not lose to them," Dollo said.

"Australia's domestic players are still better than our top players.

"Their football has been developing very fast, while football in our country has seen slow to progress.

"I know Australia decided not to call up its Europe-based players, but it will still field a very strong squad."

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Info

1 - 0

Competition
Asian Cup Qualification
Date
3 March 2010
Kick-off
10:00
Half-time
1 - 0
Full-time
1 - 0
Venue
Suncorp Stadium (Brisbane)
Attendance
20422

Goals

1 - 0

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