A New Direction?
The decision to get Advocaat as the new socceroos coach from January 2008 heralds a new direction in thinking at the FFA. In one fell swoop, they have answered a lot of nagging questions (well, to me anyway).
(a) Are they looking for a Hiddink-like figure?
*No, Advocaat ('Aussie Dick' anyone?) is no Guus. He's gruff, opinionated, and by all accounts, a bit of an asshole. He's not the wonderful man manager Guus is (but Guus started out life as a child psychologist, perfect for coaching footballers....).
We'll never replace Hiddink-time to move on. He's a no-nonsense man so Lucas Neill will learn to shut his trap...
(b) They have a set system in mind
*I think so, with Baan the technical director and now Advocaat in charge of the national team. The Dutch style might suit future generations of Australians once it immerses itself into the grassroots. It is after all a system that meshes together a physcal approach with skills and movement, and here we have physique and movement.
(c) Will they take the WC2010 qualifying campaign seriously?
*This was no doubt answered by the dismal performance oat the AFC championship. Rumour had it that a big name coach will join up later in the piece-now we'll have one for rounds 3 and 4 of the qualifying campaign.
I doubt he's the best candidate but he's the one on the shortlist that can start in January 2008 and has experience in Asia with Korea. And Korea did not do too badly in Germany, and don't forget Hiddink had the Korean team in camp for months before their semi-final performance in 2002. He's not useless.
Will Arnold have a role? I suspect so, at the start anyway-it'll be interesting to see if Verbeek joins up with him again as his assistant. If so, I expect Australia to have a rather inflexible system as Verbeek showed little interest in making tactical alterations at the AFC Championships. The Dutch under Advocaat also showed little flexibility (certainly no total football) at Euro 2004.