Verbeek shows he was the right man for the job
Pim Verbeek was hardly the household name many were expecting when the Qantas Socceroos announced their new coach 18 months ago.
DOHA, June 7 AAP - Pim Verbeek was hardly the household name many were expecting when the Qantas Socceroos announced their new coach 18 months ago.
In fact, most people had never heard of him.
But nobody can dispute the Dutchman was the right man for the job now that he has led Australia to the World Cup with plenty of time to spare.
Verbeek was appointed with one assignment - get the Qantas Socceroos to South Africa. - and Australia's 0-0 draw with Qatar in Doha on Sunday morning ensured he passed with flying colours.
The Qantas Socceroos will play their remaining two qualifiers this month knowing that they will be on the plane to South Africa next year, and knowing that is thanks largely to Verbeek's impact.
"Football Federation Australia picked him and everyone was saying, 'who is this guy?'" Qantas Socceroos captain Lucas Neill said after the draw with Qatar.
"He's been tactically shrewd and his preparation has been amazing..
"Frank Lowy and FFA have got to take a lot of credit for bring him in and getting us playing the way we're playing.
"Getting us ruthless, not conceding goals, not wanting to lose games, doing it the hard way and getting it down with two home games to go, this is is just amazing."
Verbeek has been criticised at times for using cautious and unadventurous tactics, particularly on away trips, but few could argue with his record.
The draw with Qatar took his record to nine wins, six draws and three losses in his 18 games in charge.
In the last stage of qualifying, Australia are unbeaten and haven't conceded a goal.
In helping the Qantas Socceroos to a historic successive World Cup berth, the former South Korea coach will also get to experience something coaches dream about.
"It's the greatest tournament in the world," Verbeek said after clinching qualification.
"To be there as a player is fantastic and to be there as one of the few coaches who have ever been there is, of course, fantastic."
Verbeek famously promised to sing the Australian national anthem if he qualified.
He admits he hasn't yet learned the lyrics but promised he is a man of his word.