Japan are under more pressure than Australia to win their crucial 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifier next month, Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek has said.
Australia are unbeaten after three qualifiers and lead Japan by two points in Group A of Asian qualifying heading into the February 11 crunch match in Yokohama. The top two teams of both Asian groups qualify directly for the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa.
"They have to win at home against us. That means they are under more pressure than we are," Verbeek told The Sydney Morning Herald. "Ok, we want to win, but we don't have to win. The pressure is more on their side."
The Dutchman rated Uzbekistan, who have only one point from three games, a bigger away test than Japan. "We always thought Uzbekistan would be one of the danger teams and they are still in the race, don't forget," he said. "Japan still have to go there, so anything is possible."
Verbeek confirmed that injured Newcastle United striker Mark Viduka will not be selected for the Yokohama clash. "Viduka will not be there It would be a big, big surprise if he would be fit and we don't put him under any pressure."