OPINION: New coach a good choice, now deliver

SOMETIMES your new best friend can be someone who is a former enemy.

That is true as far as the Socceroos are concerned, as Bert Van Marwijk was unveiled as the man to lead Australia to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

"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,'' van Marwijk said via an FFA statement.

"I have also been impressed by the national team set-up that the FFA has developed over the past few years. I want to thank (FFA) for the confidence they have shown in me.”

The national team set-up, painstakingly sorted by former coach Ange Postecoglou during his four-year stint, could be in a better place than any of us previously suspected.

Australian sports fans are fickle: we love it when we're winning, and we loathe it when we're losing.

So much so that one too many losses can trigger the end of a coach's career, no matter the overall goal or long-term development completed in that time.

Postecoglou had his reasons to leave, as is his right, but Van Marwijk's appointment is one I can support purely on the basis he knows our team.

The former Saudi Arabia coach, who guided them to World Cup qualification before a contract dispute triggered his departure, has coached against Australia on at least two occasions.

They drew 2-2 on the first encounter, before Australia won the second match 3-2.

At its most basic level, Van Marwijk's former job was to find the Socceroos' weaknesses, exploit them, and earn the best possible result.

When you consider one of Van Marwijk's previous best results was a 2010 World Cup final loss while he was in charge of the Netherlands, the possibilities are endless.

I don't expect the Socceroos to make it out of the Group stage when they head to Russia in June, but I do expect the Australians to battle to the bitter end. Who knows what could happen?



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