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Van Marwijk Named Socceroos Boss for World Cup, A-League Coach Touted Long-Term


Australia finally have a successor to Ange Postecoglou in Bert van Marwijk, but the Dutchman is only in charge of the Socceroos until this summer’s World Cup in Russia ends.

There are some echoes of compatriot Guus Hiddink’s short-term appointment in 2005 about Football Federation Australia (FFA) making this choice. Like Hiddink before him, the Socceroos are Van Marwijk’s third different country in international management. Both took the plunge by coaching their native Netherlands after club jobs at home and abroad.

Hiddink and Van Marwijk later took on left-field international roles with other nations that play in FIFA’s Asian confederation (AFC) before earning their chance to bring Australia from Down Under to a World Cup staged in Europe. While Van Marwijk didn’t have to steer the Socceroos to the tournament finals like Hiddink before him, he did qualify for Russia with Saudi Arabia but was then unable to agree a new deal.

Such strong showings in World Cup qualifying and when he took the Netherlands all the way to the 2010 final in South Africa are to Van Marwijk’s credit. His Dutch side that did so well flopped two years later at Euro 2012, however, when they failed to make it out of their finals group and finished bottom with no wins or points. A failed return to club coaching with fallen German Bundesliga giants Hamburg followed in the 2013/14 season.

Van Marwijk has rehabilitated himself since with Saudi Arabia, however, by winning 13 of 20 internationals in charge during a two-year stint that came to an abrupt end in September 2017. As he prepares to coach the Socceroos for the first time away to Norway on 23 March and take them to Russia, Van Marwijk has suffered just 11 defeats in over 70 games coaching national teams.

It’s a strong record which gives Australia soccer fans hope of emulating Hiddink’s feat of reaching the knockout phase of the tournament. According to the latest football odds available with bet365, the Socceroos are 3/1 to qualify from World Cup finals Group C. They face France, Denmark and Peru – conquerors of neighbours New Zealand in the intercontinental play-offs – in Russia.

Any expectation is tempered by big prices available in the World Cup betting for Australia to surpass the achievements of their last generation under Hiddink. They are also favourites to finish bottom of their finals pool and odds-on to not reach the last 16.

What of the long-term view, though? Who next after Van Marwijk for the Socceroos? Intense speculation surrounded Graham Arnold, manager of reigning A-League champions Sydney FC, making a return to the national setup, but he ruled himself out of taking the Australia job mid-season.

Although reportedly under contract with Sydney until 2019, rumours persist Arnold could return for a second spell in charge of the Socceroos following the World Cup. Both Sydney chairman Scott Barlow and Arnold himself spoke of him remaining in his post for this season.

It leaves the possibility of answering his country’s call again after that. The FFA are likely to be keen on having a successor in place as the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates starts less than six months after the World Cup final. Australia are among the outsiders for global glory in Russia, but careful planning for beyond is also important.

Image Credit: TBWABustedING NederlandAsianFC

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avatarThis post was written by a Staff Writer for Ultimate A-League

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