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Socceroos ready to fight

By Guy Hand 19/06/2010 04:40:49 AM Comments (0)

Under-fire Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek has praised his players' reaction in training to their World Cup humbling by Germany, and denied rumours of discontent which have dogged the squad all week.

Australia must win Saturday's clash with Ghana and beat Serbia on Wednesday to qualify for the second stage after the Serbs stunned 10-man Germany 1-0 on Friday to turn Group D on its head.

With three teams on three points, the Socceroos are the only ones in the group yet to open their account at the World Cup.

Failure to beat Ghana in Rustenburg is now fatal for Australia, who would not be able to qualify for the round of 16 with anything less.

All week officials and players have been forced to hose down rumours of discontent in the camp and allegations senior Socceroos have vented their anger at Verbeek over his selections and tactics in the 4-0 loss to Germany.

Verbeek denied those claims, and said his players had worked hard all week on the training ground - the Dutchman praising them for reacting in the right way to the embarrassing loss.

"The players reacted very well to the loss against Germany. We know what we have to do," Verbeek said on Friday.

"Winning against Ghana is the only thing we have to do, the only thing we can do.

"I have 100 per cent confidence they will do everything to get the three points.

"If we win against Ghana, then we have four teams with three points. Everything is open (in the group) again."

Verbeek blasted speculation about problems within the camp and players having issues with his coaching as "rubbish".

"I've heard a lot of our players use the word 'rubbish' (about the claims), and I fully agree with that word," Verbeek said.

"Whatever people are doing and writing, and if they are writing this kind of rubbish, I don't care."

Verbeek would not reveal whether possible match-winner Harry Kewell would start - or even play - in the must-win match.

"If I let him play, it means he is 100 per cent ready, and then he has to show that he is important for the team," Verbeek said.

Ghana are yet to decide whether first-choice centre-backs John Mensah and Isaac Vorsah will play after training ground injury setbacks this week.

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