Bert van Marwijk admitted Australia’s ‘sporting culture’ was one of the key factors behind his decision to take on the role as the new Caltex Socceroos coach.
Van Marwijk, 65, was last week announced as Australia’s Head Coach for June’s tournament, taking over from Ange Postecoglou.
The Dutchman flew into Sydney from Holland on Thursday and immediately addressed a large media contingent at FFA headquarters.
And the Dutchman believes his experience with Australian players during his time with Holland and Saudi Arabia was a key factor behind his decision to take up the role with the Socceroos.
“We played with Saudi Arabia, as I was the coach there, two times against Australia,” van Marwijk told reporters on Thursday.
“I was here, as I was the coach of the national team of Holland, also played here against Australia.
“In Holland we also played against Australia. We lost in Eindhoven I can remember.
“The mentality of Australia is special. The sports culture is special. And I’d like to go to the World Championship. I think that’s a good combination.”
Van Marwijk insists Australia will be competitive at the World Cup and is targeting a second round appearance in Russia.
“I go the World Cup with the only thing that counts and it’s to survive the first round,” van Marwijk said.
“No one has to tell me that’s difficult because our opponents are good countries.
“But for me there’s only one thing that counts and that’s the first game.”
While acknowledging his preference for attractive football, van Marwijk said he will adopt a style which will bring the best out of the Australian squad.
“I’m a realistic coach. I like creative football. I like to have the ball. But I also like to win. That’s the most important thing,” he said.
“I think it’s important to play in a way that fits the players. And also the coach. You cannot play in a way that the players cannot do.
“And when they don’t like to play in a way you want to play then you make a mistake I think.
“It’s important for me as soon as possible to get to know the players and their qualities.
“I know a lot of players, we played against you two times in the past year and we [did] a lot of analysis of the players. But I have to learn them better.”
Statement: Optus' FIFA World Cup™ coverage
Like all football fans in Australia, FFA has been very disappointed by the technical problems which have so affected the FIFA World Cup coverage by Optus. Optus’ broadcasting agreement is with FIFA not FFA, but FFA is receiving regular updates from both Optus and SBS to see wh
Opponent Watch: Denmark midfielder ruled out of FIFA World Cup™
France have played out a difficult training game against an Under-19 club opponent while Denmark have seen one of their key midfielders ruled out of the tournament with an injury. Plus the latest on Peru in this edition of Opponent Watch. DAY 29 WRAP: France game dissected
Revealed: What Jedinak said to Socceroos teammates after loss
Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak has explained what he said to teammates in a huddle following the narrow 2-1 loss to France at the FIFA World Cup™. Jedinak, who scored Australia’s goal from the penalty spot, was picked in midfield alongside Aaron Mooy and the duo produced a ste
The star a nation is built around: Denmark's key men
Denmark is the next name on the Socceroos’ list as they head to Samara for the second Group C fixture on Thursday night (AEST) – you can catch it at 10pm AEST on SBS and Optus Sport. Ranked 12th in the world, Denmark finished second in their qualifying group behind Poland and