• Bert van Marwijk spoke for the first time since being appointed Australia coach
  • Familiar with Socceroos after leading Saudi Arabia during Russia 2018 qualifying
  • Van Marwijk says the only thing that counts is ‘surviving the first round’

New Australia coach Bert van Marwijk says the Socceroos are good enough to progress into the knockout stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.

Speaking in Sydney on Thursday following his appointment as Australia coach last week, Van Marwijk made it clear he will implement his own style on the team.

The 65-year-old, who will be the third Dutchman to coach Australia at a World Cup, is familiar with his new side having coached Saudi Arabia against the Socceroos twice during Russia 2018 qualifiers.

Van Marwijk’s Netherlands side were held to a scoreless draw at home against Australia 2009, a year prior to the coach famously leading his nation to the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final.

“They can play football, they try to play football, they are strong,” Van Marwick said of his new team. “Maybe we don’t have the best players but we can be the best team.

“I know a lot of the 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.”

When asked about his playing style compared to former national team coach Ange Postecoglou, Van Marwijk said: “I have respect for the former coach, [but] I do it my way.”

The Asian champions will open their Russia 2018 campaign against group heavyweights France, before further outings against Denmark and Peru.

“If I didn’t have confidence in that [qualifying] then I would not be here, but I will say it will not be easy,” Van Marwijk added.

“I go to the World Cup with the only one thing that counts and that is to survive the first round. No-one has to tell me that it is difficult because our opponents are good countries.”

Van Marwijk’s five-month tenure will commence in earnest in March with international matches against Norway and Colombia.

 


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