Now that Bert van Marwijk has been revealed as the man to lead our Socceroos to the 2018 World Cup, it’s time to check what’s under the hood and see if we’ve got a winner here.
"This is a great result for Australian football," FFA chairman Steven Lowy said Thursday.
"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."
WHAT ARE HIS COACHING CREDENTIALS?
Van Marwijk is probably best known for being the coach who came oh-so-close to steering The Netherlands to World Cup glory in 2010, only to be beaten late by Andres Iniesta and Spain.
The Dutchman has been coaching since 1982 but made the jump into the big-time in 2000 when he took the reins of Feyenoord, finishing second in the Eredivisie. In 2001, he went even further, leading the Rotterdam-based club to the UEFA Cup final, winning 3-2 over Borussia Dortmund.
Dortmund liked what they saw and brought him across to the Bundesliga for three largely uneventful seasons.
After a short-lived return to Feyenoord, the Dutch national team came calling, where he spent four years.
A short spell, 143 days to be exact, at Hamburg led to where van Marwijk came into contact with the Socceroos as the national coach of Saudi Arabia. The Dutch coach helped the Saudis qualify for the 2018 World Cup – their first since 2006.
Days later, van Marwijk was gone. According to Voetbal International, Van Marwijk baulked at a clause in his contract renewal that required him to live in Saudi Arabia for 23 days a month and seek permission to leave the country.
WHAT DOES HE KNOW ABOUT US?
A fair bit, actually, as the coach of Saudi Arabia, we’re hardly an unknown quantity to him.
“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,” the new Socceroos coach said in a statement announcing his appointment.
“I have also been impressed by the national team set-up that the FFA has developed over the past few years."
HAS HE PLAYED THE GAME?
462 games in the Dutch first division for 72 goals is no joke.
The former midfielder has one international cap to his name as well.
WHEN WILL HE START?
At time of writing, the World Cup is 140 days away.
Players walking around with name tags is a bad look.
WHO WILL HIS ASSISTANT BE?
Van Marwijk will most likely want his own assistant but the current Socceroos assistant, Ante Milicic, has a contract until 2020.
He’ll likely stay on, especially with the new coach having less than a month to name a squad for the upcoming friendlies with Norway and Colombia.
WHAT ABOUT GRAHAM ARNOLD?
In a statement released by Sydney FC, Arnold announced that he will remain with the reigning A-League champions until at least the end of the 2017/18 season.
Will he jump on board after our new national coach’s FIFO contract ends? Who knows.
WHO ELSE WAS CONSIDERED?
Arnold was widely tipped to be the next Socceroos coach following Ange Postecoglou’s decision to stand down after guiding Australia to World Cup qualification.
However, further reports suggested the FFA preferred a foreign coach to guide Australia to Russia on a short-term contract - with Dutch managers Bert Van Marwijk and Louis Van Gaal heading the shortlist.
Other coaches linked with the post include Argentinian manager Marcelo Bielsa, as well as home grown managers Tony Popovic and Kevin Muscat.
HOW MUCH WILL HE COST?
According to several sources, the FA have set aside just over $1 million for a five-month contract, and then a $500,000 sweetener if we progress past the group stage.
WILL THE SOCCEROOS WIN THE WORLD CUP?
“We are not going to Russia just to be competitive. I want to win our matches,” van Marwijk said.
But advancing past the first hurdle isn’t entirely out of reach.
WILL WE END UP CALLING HIM AUSSIE BERT IF HE SUCCEEDS?
Yes, of course.