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Ex-West Ham, Blackburn captain Neill accused of rebelling against Verbeek

Australian national team captain Lucas Neill has been accused of rebelling against former manager Pim Verbeek. Famous Australian football broadcaster Les Murray has revealed in his book, The World Game, that the former West Ham United and Blackburn Rovers skipper asked Verbeek to leave the room just minutes before their opening 2010 World Cup match against Germany.

Neill addressed the players, allegedly telling them that Verbeek's game plan was bullsh*t and just to go out there and play their own game.

The result was a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of the Germans and Murray feels that Neill's defiance led to the downfall.

"That meant defying Verbeek's utterly defensive strategy and going for a win," Murray wrote.

"The problem was that the team had already been named, and it contained not a solitary forward with Harry Kewell, Mark Bresciano, Josh Kennedy and Brett Holman, accomplished attacking players, all omitted.

"In the confusion there was so much delay that the point was reached when a FIFA match official knocked on the Australian change-room door and, pointing to his watch, warned the Australians that if they didn't take to the field immediately they would have to forfeit the match.

"The Aussies went out a mess and were slaughtered."

And Murray also felt that it was Verbeek's non-belief and misunderstanding of the Aussie spirit which also contributed to their mediocre World Cup showing.

"Australian players don't like to just lie down. They believe they can beat just about anybody. Guus Hiddink understood that but Verbeek never did," he said on ABC Radio.

"I just believe he never understood the Australian mentality, which is quite unique in the world.

"That's 4-0 result as the reason why we didn't advance.

"It was just a bad case of misreading the psychology of the players."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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