Pim Verbeek

Pim Verbeek helped WA make World Cup history

PIM Verbeek, the Dutch-born coach who led Australia to the World Cup finals in South Africa in 2010, will always have a special place in the history of football in Western Australia.
Verbeek, who died on November 28 at the age of 63 (four years after being diagnosed with cancer), was the first Socceroos coach to give a WA player a World Cup finals cap.
Perth-born Richard Garcia made history when he became the first West Australian to take the field of play in a World Cup finals campaign when he was in the starting line-up for Australia’s Group D match against European heavyweights Germany, who won 4-0.
Verbeek opted to start Garcia as a central attacker against Germany. The then Hull City man – who also made another bit of history when he became the first Tiger to play at a FIFA World Cup – worked tirelessly against the Euro superstars before being replaced midway through the second half by Nikita Rukavytsya.
Ironically, former Perth Glory, Perth SC and Inglewood United striker Rukavytsya became the second WA player to take part in a World Cup finals game.

Richard Garcia

Rukavytsa was also used as a sub in Australia’s second group game – a 1-1 draw with Ghana – while Garcia came on as a late sub as the Socceroos finished their campaign in South Africa with a 2-1 win over Serbia.
The Aussies were pipped by Ghana on goal difference for the chance to advance to the knockout stage.
Verbeek, who had coached South Korea to third place in the 2007 Asian Cup, departed the Socceroos after the South Africa adventure. He went on to coach the Morocco under-23 international team, and from 2016-19 was senior coach with Oman, his last appointment.
Garcia, who is now an assistant senior coach with Perth Glory, took to twitter to express his sadness at Verbeek’s death.
He said: “Saddened to hear the news of Pim Verbeek’s passing. Prayers and thoughts go out to his family.
“I’m very thankful for value and trust he placed in me. A true Gentleman. RIP”
Rukavytsa, who now plays for Maccabi Haifa and was part of Australia’s preliminary squad for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia, also took to twitter to voice his shock at Verbeek’s passing.
He said: “Wow! I have no words! Thanks to bringing me to national team since I was 19, and realize my biggest dream of playing at the World Cup!! You was a great coach and a great person! RIP coach.”
***WA’s most capped international player Stan Lazaridis was the first West Australia to be named in a FIFA World Cup finals squad when Guus Hiddink included him for the 2006 finals in Germany. But Lazaridis never got on the pitch in any of the Socceroos three group games, nor in the round of 16 game against Italy.

PIC ONE: Richard Garcia in action against Serbia. PIC TWO: Pim Verbeek and Nikita Rukavytsa. 

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