FIFA World Cup Ultimate Guide: Who is Caltex Socceroos boss Bert van Marwijk?

He’s the man charged with masterminding the Caltex Socceroos’ hopes at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Lambertus “Bert” van Marwijk is the experienced Dutchman who has been coaching at the top level in both club and international football for more than two decades.

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Van Marwijk was only appointed to be the new Caltex Socceroos job in January after Ange Postecoglou stepped down after booking Australia’s spot in Russia.

Here’s what you need to know about van Marwijk.

AGE: 66

NATIONALITY: Dutch

van marwijk van bommell
Bert van Marwijk (right) with one of his assistants, Dutch great Mark van Bommel.

DID HE PLAY?

A hard-working midfielder, van Marwijk made more than 460 appearances in the Dutch top flight for clubs like Go Ahead Eagles, AZ Alkmaar, MVV and Fortuna Sittard.

Van Marwijk, who scored 72 goals in his senior career, also made one appearance for the Netherlands in a friendly against Yugoslavia.

WHO HAS HE COACHED IN THE PAST?

  • Fortuna Sittard (1998-2000)
  • Feyenoord (2000-2004)
  • Borussia Dortmund (2004-2006)
  • Feyenoord (2007-2008)
  • Netherlands (2008-2012)
  • Hamburg (2013-2014)
  • Saudi Arabia (2015-2017)
Bert van Marwijk
Van Marwijk during his time in charge of the Netherlands at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

WHAT ARE SOME OF HIS COACHING ACHIEVEMENTS?

  • Won the UEFA CUP (now Europa League) with Feyenoord in 2001/02
  • Won the Dutch Cup (KNVB Beker) with Feyenoord in 2007/08
  • Took the Netherlands to the 2010 FIFA World Cup final, losing 1-0 to Spain.
  • Helped Saudi Arabia qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

WHAT’S HIS PLAYING STYLE?

Van Marwijk has preferred to play a 4-2-3-1 (4-3-3) formation, with two holding midfielders, throughout his recent coaching career.

But he’s quite flexible when it comes to his approach.

With the Netherlands – who he took all the way to the 2010 FIFA World Cup final – his side liked to press high and mostly took the game to the opposition.

They liked to control possession and build from the back, which often saw them controlling the tempo of a match, while also getting the ball to their creative players when possible.

That was in contrast to the way his Saudi Arabia side played during the recent AFC qualifiers.

The Saudis often sat a bit deeper, especially in away matches, using the speed of their frontman to his opposition teams in transition.

It was by no means a defensive style, with their creative players often trying to get in between the lines to cause defences problems, while the fullbacks got forward and provided the width in attack.

One thing you can be sure of if he’ll have the Caltex Socceroos well prepared, supremely fit and tactically astute for whatever challenge is thrown at them.

WHO IS VAN MARWIJK’S TECHNICAL STAFF WITH THE CALTEX SOCCEROOS?

Taco van den Velde – Football Operations manager

Mark van Bommel, Roel Coumans, Jurgen Dirkx, Ante Milicic – assistant coaches

Tony Franken – goalkeeper coach

Bert van Marwijk gives a message in training
Bert van Marwijk on the training pitch in Antalya, Turkey.