Bert van Marwijk has been announced as the new head coach of Australia’s national team.
Named on Thursday by the Football Federation of Australia (FFA), the Dutchman will be in charge of leading the Socceroos to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Van Marwijk will replace Ange Postecoglou, who surprisingly walked away in November despite qualifying Australia to the World Cup via the inter-continental play-offs.
The 65-year-old Dutchman led the Netherlands to the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa, only to lose to Spain 1-0 in extra time.
Recently, he parted ways with Saudi Arabia after leading the team to Russia, ending their 12-year World Cup drought.
FFA’s chairman Steven Lowy said Van Marwijk’s hiring will bring great results for Australian football.
'Bert Van Marwijk is world-class. 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,' said Lowy in a media release on Thursday.
'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.”
“I want to win our matches,” Van Marwijk
Speaking about his appointment, the Dutchman said Australia will be more than just “competitive” in Russia.
“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,” FIFA cited Van Marwijk as saying.
“We are not going to Russia just to be competitive. I want to win our matches.”
Several big coaching names were also considered for the post. Roberto Mancini, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Jurgen Klinsmann, Marcelo Bielsa, Sven Goran Eriksson and the Australian Graham Arnold were all linked with the job.
As coach of Saudi Arabia, the Dutchman managed to beat Australia into the second place of their Asian qualifying group. The Arab team qualified directly, while the Socceroos had to earn their spot via the inter-continental play-offs.