Soccer player Kewell hopes the team make Australians proud

14:02, June 13, 2010      

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Australian soccer player Harry Kewell has set aside the heartache of his injury, and declared himself ready to fight for his country against the might of Germany in World Cup, Sydney Morning Herald reported on Sunday.

The Soccer star has fought a battle with his body and mind to be fit and has endured long separations from his wife and three young children in his adopted home city of Istanbul.

As Australia prepares to tune in at 4:30 a.m. Monday for the round one clash with one of the heavyweights of world football, Kewell said: "I think I have been feeling everything possible: excited, nervous, confident, determined."

"I want to play. I know I can play. But the decision is entirely up to (coach) Pim Verbeek."

Echoing a question being asked around the land whether the Australian can beat Germans, Kewell said: "I never make predictions but the Australian way is to never give up, and, if we play to our best, it is possible. I hope we can make Australia proud."

Kewell, 31, unwittingly became the victim of a medical mishap when staples that should have helped heal his groin after an operation, instead has pitched him into a world of pain.

As critics rounded on him, claiming his injury woes were a distraction for the national team..

"Playing for Australia is a dream come true and representing Australia at a World Cup is one of the biggest honors you can have, " Kewell said in an interview with The Sun-Herald before the Germany match.

"But it has been an incredibly frustrating few months for me. To be totally honest, a few months ago I was wondering if I would even make it to South Africa. Since my season ended with (my Turkish club) Galatasaray, my focus has been entirely on getting ready for our first game against Germany."

The Socceroos flew from their safari lodge base outside Johannesburg to Durban on Saturday and coach Pim Verbeek was able to call on all 23 players for selection on Sunday.

The final piece of Verbeek's German jigsaw will be whether he will start Kewell and Brett Emerton, who has also recovered from injury.

Kewell warned fans that playing Germany was a tough challenge but said that phenomenal support for Australia, both in Durban and at home, would spur the team on.

"Germany are one of the most consistent World Cup teams in history but the game is still 11 men against 11 men," he said.

"If we lose, it is not the end of the world. We will still have two games to go and if we stay confident and focus on what is ahead rather than behind us, then anything can happen.

"When we qualified (for the 2006 World Cup] against Uruguay in Sydney (in 2005), I thought the fans were like a 12th man for us.

"Hopefully that will be the case this time around, both in Durban at the game, and the people back home watching in the middle of the night."

According to The Australian Online, Kewell has barely kicked a ball in anger in 2010 after suffering an ongoing groin injury, and on Sunday he will not be expected to get through 90 minutes against Germany.

Australia will open its FIFA World Cup campaign in its Group D clash against Germany on Sunday 13 June 2010 at the Durban Stadium in Durban, South Africa.

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