Verbeek names Euro-based squad
Australian coach Pim Verbeek on Friday selected an all-European-based squad of 18 players for the upcoming friendly against South Africa in London.
Verbeek said he had not selected any players from Australia's domestic A-League for the South Africa match because it falls at the beginning of the new season. "It's important now when a new season starts that the A-League can start with full-strength squads," he said.
Striker Bruce Djite was not named for the 19 August match, which Mark Viduka and Tim Cahill will miss as they recover from injury, but defender Scott Chipperfield is in the squad after getting over a foot injury. Verbeek said he was in contact with Djite but was happy to see him establish himself further at his Turkish club Genclerbirligi before bringing him into the Socceroos squad.
"We prefer him to play games at his club to get a place in the team," Verbeek told reporters in Shanghai, Australian Associated Press reported, where he is watching the Olympic football. "We keep every player in mind. I have enough strikers for the (South Africa) game."
Verbeek said the South Africa clash was part of the team's preparations for a crucial FIFA World Cup™ qualifier against Uzbekistan on 10 September. The Socceroos will play another friendly against the Netherlands in Eindhoven on September 6 ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying match in Tashkent.
Verbeek said it was "doubtful" whether Viduka and Cahill would be fit for the Uzbekistan match. "As far as I know, at the end of August, Viduka will probably be fit enough to start playing games," he said.
"That's... probably not enough time to go for the qualification game in Uzbekistan and Timmy that's the same situation. So I don't think we can use those players on the September game but we always have hope and we'll see what's going on in the next four weeks."
Australia: Michael Beauchamp (Aalborg BK/DEN), Mark Bresciano (Palermo/ITA), Nick Carle (Crystal Palace/ENG), Scott Chipperfield (FC Basel/SUI), Chris Coyne (Colchester United/ENG), Jason Culina (PSV Eindhoven/NED), Brett Emerton (Blackburn Rovers/ENG), Vincenzo Grella (Torino/ITA), Brett Holman (AZ Alkaamar/NED), Josh Kennedy (Karlsruhe/GER), Harry Kewell (Galatasaray SK/TUR), Scott McDonald (Celtic/SCO), Lucas Neill (West Ham United/ENG), Michael Petkovic (Sivasspor/TUR), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham/ENG), Mile Sterjovski (Derby County/ENG), Carl Valeri (Grosseto/ITA), Luke Wilkshire (FC Twente/NED).