Australia dismiss rift talk, Grella injured

Durban: Vince Grella, at the centre of a reported bust-up in Australia`s World Cup squad, was injured in training and will miss Saturday`s match against Ghana, coach Pim Verbeek said on Friday.

The midfielder joins suspended Tim Cahill on the sidelines for the crucial Group D game, the Dutch coach said before lashing out at the media for suggesting there was a rift in the camp.

Australian media this week reported Grella and fellow midfielder Mark Bresciano clashed with Verbeek over strategy after Sunday`s 4-0 drubbing by Germany.

Grella was replaced at halftime in that game and Bresciano stayed on the bench.

"I have heard a lot of my players use the word rubbish and I fully agree ... but we live in a free world so you (Australia`s media) can write what you like," Verbeek said at a news conference.

The Dutchman, who will leave the Socceroos after the tournament, has been criticised by observers and media in Australia for selections and tactics in the Germany game.

The loss leaves Australia needing a win against Ghana to leave them with a realistic chance of making it through to the knockout stages, with a surprise win by Serbia over Germany earlier on Friday helping their cause.

Germany and Serbia have three points after two games, and a victory for Australia would leave all teams equal.

Verbeek said Australia would go all out to win.

"The only thing that counts tomorrow and that`s winning. I will select a team that I think can win the game tomorrow," he said.

That could open the door for Harry Kewell, who has not played since early this year due to a groin injury but has trained fully with the squad for the past two weeks.

"We all know Harry has the quality ... it was better to keep him out of the team against Germany because he was not ready, but as I said everyone (except Grella and Cahill) is ready," Verbeek said.

Captain Lucas Neill said the team was united despite the reports of unhappiness and the players` thoughts were focused by spectre of an early exit from the World Cup.

"We are driven by failure. We are driven by the fear of not winning a game and not getting out of this group," he said.

He said the team had picked themselves up well after the Germany loss, helped by visits from their families.

"We feel a bit loved again ... we got together and said we are not going to go out with a fizzle," he said.

Australia -- the 20th ranked team in the world that made it through to the last 16 in 2006 in Germany -- cantered through the qualifying rounds.

Bureau Report