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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

We'd die for Guus, says Viduka

Newly-installed Socceroos captain Mark Viduka says loyalty to coach Guus Hiddink will inspire players to "die for the team" at the World Cup in Germany.

"I look at football management in two parts. The first is man-management and the second is the on-the-field stuff, like tactics," Viduka said. "When it comes to man-management, I've never dealt with a person who has the type of ability to be able to get every single player, even those on the bench, to be 100 per cent willing to go out and die for the team."

Viduka's elevation to the captaincy was one of Hiddink's first moves in his campaign to break an Australian World Cup drought dating back to 1974. Now that the Socceroos are going to
Germany, Hiddink is hoping they can make an impact before he heads off to take up a lucrative two-year contract to revive Russia's international fortunes.

The Socceroos are grouped with defending champions Brazil, Japan and Croatia but the Dutchman plans to adopt a possession-based strategy and take the game to the opposition.
"This is not a team to lean back and rely on just one or two counter-attacks each half," Hiddink has explained. Hiddink believes the first group match against Asian rivals Japan in Kaiserslautern on June 12 looms as the most crucial.

"In the Japan game Australia will go for the win, but we must not lose the game," he said.
"That does not mean you must always think defensively. If you can go for a win against Japan you are half way (to qualifying for the second round)." Hiddink is also not ruling out upsetting five-time champions and tournament favourites Brazil. "When you have the spirit of this Australian team on the pitch you might have a chance to win," he said. "They never give up. They go for 90 minutes at high pace. It's very important to go for 90 minutes with a huge mental force.

"It's quite an achievement already to be in the World Cup. But I know the Australian guys are not happy just by reaching the World Cup. I think this team can surprise, but I cannot predict where it will go."

News source:


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