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Sep 14, 2009

Pim formula way to go, says brother

Pim Verbeek will have yet another Dutchman in the Socceroos' corner when they play Holland in Sydney next month, with younger brother Robert set to fly the Australian flag at the family home in Rotterdam.

Australian football has been peppered by Dutch appointments since Verbeek's predecessor Guus Hiddink arrived to take the Socceroos to the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.

Robert Verbeek, five years Pim's junior, is a qualified football coach in his own right and has keenly followed his brother's progress with Australia over the past one and a half years.

Like Pim, Robert had his playing career at hometown Dutch Eredivisie club Sparta Rotterdam cut short due to injury, then pursued a coaching career that has included stints through Asia and Europe.

Now in charge of amateur Rotterdam-based clubs Delta Sport and IFC, Robert Verbeek is probably the proudest of many Dutch football folk who've tracked Pim's progress as Australia qualified top of its Asian group for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

"I know he (Pim) is doing a very good job," said Robert Verbeek in Rotterdam this week.

"If you become number one and you score a lot of goals and nothing behind, you do a good job.

"Now also they play against Ireland and they beat them with 3-0, I thought wow, that's a difficult game, so also there he did a very good job.

"Also I read an interview from some of the biggest names in Australia, the players and how they speak about my brother as a coach and as a person, I'm very proud of that."

Like Pim, Robert Verbeek is well regarded in his home country. Ajax Amsterdam boss Martin Jol and the Melbourne Hearts' once preferred coaching candidate Henk van Stee have been among his peers at UEFA coaching license courses in years gone by.

Verbeek has sympathy for his older brother for his oft-perceived defensive focus that has, to some, made the Socceroos less aesthetically pleasing.

"For me, I'm looking for the result and the results are good," said Verbeek.

"If you look to the big clubs and the big countries like Italy or even Spain last year, they always think about the defence, defence is very important.

"When you have a good defence you keep the zero, you must always keep the zero.

"When you score one or two goals you always have the three points and that's the trick - the zero behind, the one or two goals and you have three points."

Verbeek was most recently in charge of a top-flight club in 2007 when he led J.League club Omiya Ardija - also once home to his older brother - to a 15th-place finish.

Previously, Verbeek twice coached at FC Dordrecht, a club that has largely belonged to the Netherlands second-tier Eerste Divisie in recent times.

While at Dordrecht, Verbeek most notably achieved eighth place finishes in the final season of his first stint in 1999/00 and again at the conclusion of his second stint in 2004/05.

However, Verbeek's coaching speciality lies in youth development and it is in this capacity that the 48-year-old hopes to one day apply his trade in Australia.

"I hope maybe in the future I can work there with some good youth teams or at a good club," said Verbeek.

"(Also) China, because that's always been a dream of me, or Australia, it's one of the two countries where I thought I want to go.

"I told my brother, it's not only because he is working there.

"Of course I have heard the good stories about the mentality and the players and the development in Australia - I think Australia is coming up now, even with the youth.

"You can see the fighting mentality, but I think you can develop the technique, the tactics, there are a lot of open areas where you can learn them."

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