Football

Dutchman van Marwijk to lead Australia at World Cup

Bert van Marwijk was yesterday tipped to achieve "great things" with Australia after being given the job of taking the Socceroos to the World Cup, following Ange Postecoglou's sudden departure.

The Dutchman, who took Holland to the 2010 World Cup final, had been one of the leading foreign candidates to take on the short-term coaching stint.

Local media said he was being paid just over A$1 million (S$1.06m) for a five-month contract, with a minimum of A$500,000 in bonuses if the Socceroos advance beyond the group stage.

Van Marwijk was sacked by Holland after they failed to win a point at Euro 2012. He led Saudi Arabia to qualification for this year's World Cup in Russia but left in September over a contract dispute.

"This is a great result for Australian football," Football Federation Australia chairman Steven Lowy said in a statement.

"He knows a lot about our team and how they play because he studied them closely as an opposition manager in the same (World Cup qualifying) group. These experiences make him a compelling choice.

"In Bert van Marwijk, we have a manager who can achieve great things with this team."

The 65-year-old takes the reins after Postecoglou's departure in November despite successfully guiding the Socceroos to the World Cup via the play-offs.

Van Marwijk, who has also coached Dutch club Feyenoord, and Bundesliga sides Borussia Dortmund and Hamburg, said Australia "are not going to Russia just to be competitive".

"I want to win our matches," he added.

Australia will play France, Denmark and Peru in Group C, starting on June 16.

Van Marwijk is not the first Dutchman to coach the Socceroos, with Guus Hiddink and Pim Verbeek previously taking the reins.

Hiddink took an Australia side featuring Mark Viduka, Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill to the last 16 at the 2006 World Cup, their best performance in four attempts.

Cahill, now 38 and Australia's record scorer, remains a talisman of the team that needed two-legged play-off wins over Syria and Honduras to seal their third straight World Cup berth.

Socceroos midfielder Mark Milligan, who plays for Melbourne Victory, said that van Marwijk's experience and competitiveness would be a "very good fit" for the national side.

"With his history, we know how competitive he is and how he leads his teams, and I think it will be a very good fit for the players that we have," he told the A-League's website.

"The success he had there (coaching Saudi Arabia) was unbelievable... I think that's a positive sign for us." - AFP

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