Hey Bert! Socceroos new coach named
DUTCHMAN Bert Van Marwijk has been named as the new Socceroos coach.
Ange Postecoglou's replacement led Saudi Arabia to World Cup qualification before leaving in September last year over a contract dispute.
Van Marwijk forced Australia to qualify via the playoffs after leading Saudi Arabia to one of the automatic spots in their Asian qualifying group alongside Japan.
He said this left him well-positioned to lead the Socceroos in Russia despite being given the job just five months from the start of the tournament.
"I know a lot about the players and how the team has been playing after coaching against them for the two World Cup qualifiers, in 2016 and in June last year,'' van Marwijk said via an FFA statement.
"I have also been impressed by the national team set-up that the FFA has developed over the past few years.
"I want to thank (FFA) for the confidence they have shown in me.
"My response to them has been that we are not going to Russia just to be competitive. I want to win our matches."
FFA chairman Steven Lowy hailed the appointment as a "a great result for Australian football".
"Bert Van Marwijk is world class," Lowy said. "He took the Netherlands to the World Cup Final in 2010, he led the Saudi Arabian team to qualify directly for this year's finals and most importantly, he knows a lot about our team and how they play because he studied them closely as an opposition manager in the same group. These experiences make him a compelling choice.
"We now go to Russia with a battle-hardened group of players and support staff who made it to the finals by the toughest road possible. In Bert Van Marwijk we have a manager who can achieve great things with this team. And we will ensure they have the resources necessary to give them the highest level of preparation."
"Bert was our preferred candidate to take the Socceroos to the World Cup so we are delighted to have secured his services," Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop added.
Van Marwijk led the Saudis to their fifth World Cup, and first since Germany 2006, last year but was out of contract at the end of the qualifying campaign.
"I ended the negotiations. Last week, after qualifying for the World Cup, a number of people were sacked from my staff, which I think is unacceptable," he told Dutch broadcaster NOS at the time.
"I now hear from the media that there is a successor. So now I know it's over," added the 65-year-old.
Voetbal International said Van Marwijk had also baulked at a clause in his contract that required him to live in Saudi Arabia for 23 days a month and seek permission to leave the country.
"I would like to go to the World Cup, because that's why I started this job two years ago. But I will not let anyone tell me how to do my job," he told the Dutch soccer magazine.
"It appears that success has many fathers. After the World Cup, I notice that many people suddenly want to interfere with the national team and also want to talk about it.
"It's a pity that it has to be true, especially for the regular group of players we have been able to work with the past two years.
"Those players have approached me from all sides to stay, but I have no choice. Every coach must have the freedom to determine his own method."
Van Marwijk's appointment continues a trend of Dutchmen taking charge of the Socceroos. Guus Hiddink led Australia to the 2006 tournament, reaching the second round and earning the moniker of 'Aussie Guus' for his impressive tenure. Pim Verbeek enjoyed less success in charge of the side from 2007-2010, failing to get out of the group at the South Africa tournament.
BERT VAN MARWIJK
- As a forward and midfielder played 393 games in the Dutch Eredivisie for Go Ahead Eagles, AZ Alkmaar, MVV Maastricht and Fortuna Sittard
- Played one match, a friendly, for the Dutch national team against Yugoslavia
- Began his coaching career with Fortuna Sittard in 1998, making a Cup final in 1999
- Enjoyed great success after moving to Feyenoord, finishing top three four years running and winning the 2002 UEFA Cup
- In his first move abroad, he took the reins at Germany's Borussia Dortmund but moved on after back-to-back seventh-place finishes
- After one season back with Feyenoord, which netted a Cup final win, he succeeded Marco van Basten as coach of the Dutch national team
- Led the Dutch team to the 2010 World Cup final, which they lost 1-0 to Spain, with a notably physical style of play. He resigned after failing to pick up a point at Euro 2012
- Spent six tumultuous months back in Germany with Hamburg, winning just four of 17 games
- Installed by Saudi Arabia in 2015, he helped the Asian nation to direct qualification to this year's World Cup before leaving because of a contract dispute
- with Herald Sun, wires