Dutch coaching should be trademarked
With the Socceroos getting into the World Cup for the first time in 32 years under the tutelage of Guus Hiddink and Leo Beenhakker taking the Soca Warriors to the World Cup, there seems to be a definite trend.
Go Dutch and you can't go wrong.
The story of Gus Hiddink taking South Korea to the semi-finals in the last World Cup needs no telling. But after his success, the soccer people in Oz took notice. Think Oz and its cricket and rugby all the way. But soccer has dug its way into the national conscience and the Aussies are really excited about their chances in this World Cup. Even Pele took notice!
Guus Hiddink was brought in four months before the world cup qualifiers and it culminated in Australia beating Uruguay to book a spot in 32 years of being pipped at the post.
Here are excerpts from an interview with David Marks and Guus Hiddink
But if Guus Hiddink is feeling the pressure of achieving what his predecessors, Frank Farina, Terry Venables and others couldn't achieve, he's not showing it.
GUUS HIDDINK: Coming here, coming here now with my past is not a guarantee for success. The only thing I can contribute, with all my efforts, is some knowledge, some experience, but at the end the players, they have to do it.
So I don't say that all of a sudden the solution has come to Australia. Now we are qualified, we can lean back, we can sit back. The experience of 30 years is not good.
DAVID MARK: How much pressure do you feel to get Australia to the World Cup?
GUUS HIDDINK: No, I don't feel the wrong pressure. It is always the nice tension, when the games are coming up, the real games, and it will be the games, of course, in the two games in November.
But pressure? If you feel pressure, then it will kill you, the pressure, then I should have quit already 20 years ago.
Yeah, that's part of the... if the pressure gives more energy, then it's okay.
DAVID MARK: For Australia to make the World Cup Finals they will have to beat the Solomon Islands in September and then beat the fifth best South American side over two legs in November.
Guus Hiddink has been given just four months to achieve what he calls "a miracle."
GUUS HIDDINK: When you look at the outside world, outside football world, then I think many people they think, yeah, Australia doesn't have any chance to qualify.
If you go and mention that in Europe, playing against a South American team who is experienced, and whatever, many people will say that that's impossible. But that, I think, is the challenge for me to make the impossible possible.
DAVID MARK: Football Commentator and Chief Executive Officer of the new A-League club Sydney FC, Andy Harper, says Guus Hiddink, who's also coached one of the famous club teams in the World, Real Madrid, has the pedigree to achieve Australian soccer's holy grail.
ANDY HARPER: You're talking about one of the key operators in world football in Guus Hiddink. He's seen it all before, he's done it all before, he knows exactly how difficult this is going to be, and I'd be very surprised if he would have accepted the position if he really thought it was an unachievable goal.
These guys have just got, quite frankly, better things to do. And I'm enormously encouraged by the sheer virtue of the fact that someone of his stature believes in the project enough to steer the ship, and I think that should really be taken on board by our entire footballing community.
Now it's not going to be easy, there's going to be significant hurdles along the way, not a lot of margin for error, not a lot of time to get ready, but heck, that's the cards that he's been dealt, and really you can think of few better people to play the hand that's been given.
PETER WILKINS (archival): Iran, jubilant! Australia, shattered, absolutely shattered.
MARK COLVIN: Peter Wilkins, calling Australia's World Cup Qualifier against Iran in 1997. Thanks for reminding us.