soccer Wo4rld Cup Germany Socceroos Australia V Croatia End of game Jubilation Marco Bresciano, Vince Grella and Satn Lazaridis 230606 Tim Clayton SMH Sportsoccer World Cup Germany Socceroos Australia V Croatia End of game Jubilation Marco Bresciano, Vince Grella and Stan Lazaridis 230606 Tim Clayton SMH SportFootball Federation Australia will turn to a trio of Socceroos legends to assist in appointing the manager who will lead Australia through the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Three members of Australia’s so-called “golden generation” – Mark Bresciano, Stan Lazaridis and Mark Schwarzer – are among a panel of experts who will advise the FFA on the coaching hire, along with FFA’s head of national performance, Luke Casserly, Socceroos assistant coach Ante Milicic (both are also former national team representatives), FFA’s national technical director Eric Abrams and chief medical officer, Dr Mark Jones. It is expected that two international names will join this panel and will be named in the coming days.
The advisory panel, as well as search and consulting firm SRi Executive, are working with FFA on the criteria for selecting the new coach and will be involved in initial interviews. The final decision is expected to be made in February, ahead of friendly matches in March, with the World Cup starting in June.
Australia will take on France, Denmark and Peru in the tournament, their fourth consecutive World Cup appearance since breaking a 32-year drought in 2006. Bresciano famously scored the goal that sent their play-off tie against Uruguay into extra time, before Schwarzer was the hero in the penalty shoot-out, making two saves. Lazaridis was on the bench for both legs against Uruguay, and made the squad for Germany in 2006.
“As you would expect, we have had a high-level of interest already,” FFA boss David Gallop said. “As things stand, no one is ruled in or out. We are open-minded about whether the coach is Australian or someone from overseas but they must live in Australia, embrace the progress on and off the field that has been achieved with national teams over the past four years – especially in the areas of technical development and sports science – and be prepared to be an ambassador for our sport here and abroad.”
One potential candidate is former Argentina and Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa, an appointment that would meet most fan’s expectations, but another big name thrust into the mix is former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.
“Yes of course I’m interested. It’s a big job, a big football country, you’re playing in the World Cup – again. You more or less always play in the World Cup,” the 69-year-old told News Corp on Tuesday.
The Swede led England to two World Cup quarter-finals in 2002 and 2006, losing to Brazil and Portugal, respectively. He also oversaw the Ivory Coast’s campaign in 2010, when they failed to make it out of the group stage.
“The whole world would say France is favourite to win that group, but second I think it’s very tight. Any team there can beat anyone, it’s very open. Why not Australia?” Eriksson said.
Gallop said the prospect of a coach taking over for the World Cup and then passing the team on to someone else, as Guus Hiddink did for the 2005 play-offs and 2006 tournament, is not an ideal outcome for Australia – but didn’t rule it out entirely.
“FFA’s starting point is to appoint a coach for the long-term but we will be advised on this and other matters by our expert panel. We are confident that we will attract the right person to lead the Socceroos at the World Cup and hopefully beyond.”
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