SYDNEY, June 15 – Football may be a team game but according to the Australian media there is only one person to blame for Sunday's humiliating 4-0 World Cup loss to Germany — Dutch coach Pim Verbeek.Given the time difference between Australia and South Africa, Tuesday was the first opportunity for newspapers Down Under to get truly stuck in — and the copy will make unpleasant reading for Verbeek.
"Let down by an erratic Pimbecile — Coach well offside with his strategy," headlined Sydney’s mass-selling Daily Telegraph, which wheeled out former Australia captain Charlie Yankos to launch a broadside at the Dutch trainer.
Yankos, who led the Socceroos 30 times during the 1980s, said Verbeek owed the estimated 10,000 fans who travelled to South Africa an explanation.
"Just because they (Germany) are good on paper doesn’t mean we couldn’t go out there and make life difficult for them," he said.
"We didn’t challenge for the ball or put them under pressure. We didn’t do any of that. It looked like we were having a game in the park."
Verbeek was widely praised as he guided Australia through qualifying with barely a hiccup, but that was all forgotten following the capitulation to Germany.
"Grim Pim" cried the Townsville Bulletin. "Shockeroos — How Pim blew it" was the West Australian’s response.
Former coach Les Scheinflug said the loss had "broken my heart".
"And I totally blame Pim Verbeek," he told The Australian newspaper. "He picked the wrong team. He had no intention of attacking. We had no tactics. We had nothing."
But The Australian editorial took a more conciliatory line.
"A World Cup loss is cause for contemplation, not collapse," it said, arguing that Verbeek had become a "national scapegoat".
The editorial added: "The truth is that there are few teams in the competition likely to be good enough to beat this classy German outfit."