Former Australia head coach Verbeek dies at 63

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Pim Verbeek, who took Australia to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, has died after a battle with cancer.
Pim Verbeek, who took Australia to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, has died after a battle with cancer.

Former Australia head coach Pim Verbeek has died at the age of 63.

Verbeek, who was Socceroos boss from 2007 until after the World Cup in 2010, had been battling cancer.

His former club Sparta Rotterdam, with whom he had been working since February in a technical capacity as a member of the board, confirmed the news in a statement on Thursday.

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"Sparta Rotterdam has received the sad message that Pim Verbeek has passed away at the age of 63," the Eredivisie club said.

"Sparta Rotterdam wishes the family, friends, acquaintances and the entire Sparta family a lot of strength in processing this loss.

"The club will play the away match next Saturday against Willem II with armbands of mourning."

Verbeek spent his entire playing career with the club before he retired at just 25.

His extensive coaching career was best known for spells in charge of South Korea, Australia and Oman, leaving the latter after they were knocked out of the Asian Cup in the second round by Iran.

Arguably his most successful period was during his three years with Australia, as he guided them to the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.

Verbeek stepped down after their group-stage campaign ended with a 2-1 victory over Serbia, which remains the last time they won a match at the tournament.

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