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Socceroos need goal-fest to avoid exit

20/06/2010 01:43:24 PM Comments (0)

Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek has made it clear Australia need a Balkanic eruption against Serbia to have any chance of avoiding the World Cup exit door.

Needing a win over the Serbs and favours from elsewhere to enter the round of 16, Verbeek believes Germany will beat Ghana in their final match on Wednesday (THURS AEST).

And that means Australia will need lots of goals to beat the Balkan nation in the match being played simultaneously in Nelspruit to rectify a skewed goal difference that could see them exit the tournament even with a victory.

The Socceroos' gutsy 1-1 draw with 10 men against Ghana on Saturday leaves their World Cup on a mathematical knife-edge.

If Australia beat Serbia and Ghana beat Germany, the Socceroos qualify for the second stage.

An Australian victory and a Germany win won't be enough unless the Germans and/or Australia slam in plenty of goals to balance the goal difference equation in the Socceroos' favour.

So Verbeek has foreshadowed loading up on goalscoring options to help conjure the right result.

"We have to go for it, we have to win this game, there is no discussion," Verbeek said of the Serbia match.

"It depends also on the result of the other game.

"In principle we have to think Germany will beat Ghana, which means we have to score a few goals." The Socceroos will also have to win the match without two of their most influential players - Harry Kewell and Craig Moore.

Kewell was sent off for handball after 25 minutes against Ghana, while Moore picked up a second yellow card for the tournament to cop an automatic one-match ban.

But the Socceroos' brave effort against the Ghanaians in Rustenburg, which deserved a win and could so easily have brought one, at least lifts the hope levels after the catastrophic tournament opening 4-0 loss to Germany.

And they will also have talismanic midfielder Tim Cahill, suspended for the Ghana clash, available to play Serbia.

With four changes to the starting line-up beaten by Germany, including Kewell and reverting to their customary 4-2-3-1 formation, the Socceroos took a surprise 1-0 lead against Ghana through a Brett Holman goal in the 11th minute.

But the game changed complexion when Kewell was marched for handball.

The striker blocked a goalbound Jonathan Mensah shot in the goalmouth with his upper arm, and Italian referee Roberto Rosetti had no hesitation in brandishing red.

As a livid Kewell left the field, striker Asamoah Gyan slotted home the penalty to equalise.

Despite being a man down, the Socceroos looked far more likely to pinch a winner in the second half.

Their best chance was after 72 minutes when Luke Wilkshire was put through on goal but goalkeeper Richard Kingson jutted out a knee to clear his shot away.

Ghana now sit top of the group with four points, Germany and Serbia are on three, while the Socceroos prop up the table with one.

But Verbeek is confident his side can once again harness what he calls the "Australian spirit" to produce another improbable result and raise themselves into the round of 16.

"We played some very good football ... and this gives us a lot of confidence we can do another great job against Serbia," he said.

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