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Page last updated at 17:36 GMT, Saturday, 19 June 2010 18:36 UK

World Cup 2010: Aussies ready to fight for last-16 spot

Harry Kewell

Highlights - Ghana 1-1 Australia

Australia coach Pim Verbeek has said he is proud of his players' fighting spirit after overcoming the dismissal of Harry Kewell to draw 1-1 with Ghana.

The Aussies took an early lead through Brett Holman but Ghana soon levelled.

Kewell was sent off for a handball on the goal-line and Asamoah Gyan converted the resultant penalty.

Verbeek said: "We're still in the race. The boys were fighting for everything and with everything they had. I can only be proud of the players."

The Socceroos coach refused to criticise referee Roberto Rosetti for dismissing Kewell, whose first appearance in the tournament lasted merely 24 minutes.


"If it's a handball it must be deliberate. I didn't see it but from what I've heard, it was not like that," Verbeek added.

"There's nothing we can do about it. We go on. We have to get the energy back for the next game and go again."

Australia, who had been criticised by their national press after a poor opening performance in their 4-0 defeat by Germany, were impressive throughout.

Indeed, it was the Socceroos who came closest to winning the match but Luke Wilkshire failed to beat Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson late on when through on goal.

"If you have to play more than an hour with 10 players then you have to work very very hard and that's what we did," commented Verbeek.

"We had an unbelievable chance with Wilkshire. We needed to be a bit lucky. We were not fresh at the end but I think that's normal if you play in a match like this."

Australia, currently bottom of Group D with one point, face Serbia on Wednesday in their final group match. The Socceroos must win that game and score at least three goals to reach the knockout stages.

Verbeek reflected: "It will be quite difficult now. It's a new task winning against Serbia - that's ok, that's our next job."

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see also
Highlights - Ghana 1-1 Australia
19 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Verbeek proud of Australia players
19 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup day nine photos
19 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Saturday's World Cup round-up
19 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010

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