Harry Kewell to fight for Australia against Ghana in World Cup

13:35, June 15, 2010      

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Australia's Football (Soccer) Team's coach, Pim Verbeek challenged midfielder Harry Kewell to step up and prove his ability to turn around Australia's World Cup campaign, Australia's media reported on Tuesday.

According to The Australian Online, Australia's hopes of advancing to the second round of South Africa 2010 hanging by a thread, Verbeek has challenged Kewell to play a leading role in Saturday's do-or-die clash with Ghana in Rustenburg.

"A frustrated Kewell watched on helplessly from the dugout as the Socceroos were whipped 4-0 by a rampant Germany in Durban on Monday morning, Australian time," the paper wrote.

Despite the Australians chasing the game against Germany for almost the entire 90 minutes, Verbeek kept regulars Kewell, Mark Bresciano and Josh Kennedy on the bench.

But with midfielder star Tim Cahill suspended for this weekend' s clash with Ghana after being sent off against Germany, Verbeek is ready to unleash at least Kewell, provided he proves this week on the training paddock he has fully recovered from the groin injury that has ruined his year.

"I didn't take him to have a holiday over here," Verbeek said.

"He's fit, he has no problem with his injury - the question is if he can play for 90 minutes and if I'm willing to take a risk with a player.

"Harry is special for us - we know that. I think he's a great professional football player, but it's now time to find out if he' s good enough to play in the World Cup."

Verbeek said it was only natural that Kewell, Bresciano and Kennedy were angered by being overlooked for the clash against the Germans.

But even with the aid of hindsight, the Dutchman said he would not have done anything differently, believing that a lack of organization, not a change of personnel, was the reason for the Socceroos' capitulation in Durban.

"They (Kewell, Bresciano and Kennedy) are good professionals," Verbeek said.

"They all know I'm the one who's making the final decision. They all know they have to show they are better than the players that are on the field, and if they were, they should have played - it's that simple.

"I explained why they were not playing. Then it's for them to react and if they show me this week they are better than the players I have in mind, then they are starting - that's the way it works in football."

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.

The Australian Online said Kewell has barely kicked a ball in anger in 2010 after suffering an ongoing groin injury.

Australia will next face Ghana on June 19 in Rustenberg, South Africa.

Source: Xinhua


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