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Football: Postecoglou draws dividing line with van Marwijk

Sydney (AFP) – Former Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou said Monday he was at “the other end of the scale” to his defence-minded successor Bert van Marwijk who will take Australia to the World Cup.  

The 65-year-old Dutchman’s appointment was announced last week after Postecoglou quit suddenly in November, despite guiding the team to Russia via the playoffs.

But Postecoglou has wasted little time drawing a stark dividing line between their respective styles of play. 

“It’s pretty clear, there’s a divergence in the basic philosophy,” Postecoglou told Melbourne radio SEN.

“His teams have always been… hard to beat and fairly pragmatic in his approach and I’m kind of the other end of the scale,” he added.

Van Marwijk, who took the Netherlands to the 2010 World Cup final, had been one of the leading foreign candidates to take on the short-term coaching stint. 

He has also coached Dutch club Feyenoord and Bundesliga sides Borussia Dortmund and Hamburg — but his coaching style is a departure from the so-called Dutch way of stylish football.

His approach is seen as pragmatic, with a focus on results rather than attractive play, while Postecoglou’s style was regarded as more attacking and focused on short passes.  

Australian media has said van Marwijk — who led Saudi Arabia to qualification for this year’s World Cup in Russia — was being paid just over Aus$1 million (US$810,000) for a five-month contract, with a minimum of Aus$500,000 in bonuses if the Socceroos advance beyond the group stage.

Postecoglou said the Dutchman’s appointment was “logical” given Football Federation Australia were likely looking outside of the country for a coach but also seeking a candidate familiar with the Socceroos.

“I get the sense, again from afar, that maybe that’s the approach that was sought for this part of the journey.”

Van Marwijk’s first games as coach will be two friendlies against Norway and Colombia in Europe in March.

He is the third Dutchman to coach the Socceroos, with Guus Hiddink and Pim Verbeek previously taking the reins.

However, his appointment could last only for the World Cup, as the FFA said arrangements for the coaching role after the tournament “will be announced in the near future”.

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