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Former coach Hiddink to help Australia’s World Cup build-up


Sydney (AFP) – Australia recruited former coach Guus Hiddink on Monday to help in their World Cup build-up, with the experienced Dutch tactician invited back for their final home game ahead of the tournament.

The 75-year-old, who ended Australia’s 32-year World Cup exile by steering them to the 2006 tournament where they reached the last 16, will work alongside coach Graham Arnold for their clash against New Zealand at Brisbane on September 22.

“I am very delighted to go there (to Australia) because every now and then when I talk about my career with people, I always highlight my experience with the Socceroos,” said Hiddink, who will come out of retirement.

“This is one chapter in my career which gave me a lot of energy. I met very kind people and very open-minded people, which I liked very much.”

He will help out in the absence of Arnold’s regular right-hand man Rene Meulensteen, who will be in Europe to scout two of Australia’s Group D opponents, France and Denmark.

Arnold, who was one of Hiddink’s assistants at the 2006 World Cup, said he believed his presence would inspire and motivate the squad.

“Guus is a great storyteller, so I can’t wait to see the effect he has on this current generation of Australian players,” he said. 

“Many of our boys know of his feats and achievements internationally but have never had the opportunity to meet him.”

In addition to two interim stints as Chelsea manager, Hiddink also coached Real Madrid, PSV Eindhoven and Valencia, along with the Netherlands, Russia, and Turkey.

But he is perhaps best-known for inspiring co-hosts South Korea to a shock semi-final spot at the 2002 World Cup.

The World Cup begins in Qatar on November 20.

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