Who are the contenders to replace Ange Postecoglou?

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    It was rumoured and now it’s the reality for the Socceroos. Ange Postecoglou has quit as coach just seven days after qualifying for the FIFA World Cup. So, the obvious question now is who should replace him?

    The World Cup kicks off on June 15, 2018. That’s just under eight months away, so it gives David Gallop and his team little time to find a new coach who will be able to fit straight into the structure and pick up where Postecoglou left off.

    It’s not the first time Australia have been in a rush to find a coach. Qualification for the 2006 campaign saw Guus Hiddink take over less than four months before the Socceroos’ successful play-off against Uruguay.

    He then took Australia to the knockout stage for the first time in the nation’s history.

    The 2014 road to the Cup was also a shaky one after Holger Osieck was sacked by the FFA eight months out, with Postecoglou being thrust into the role. In a group of death, Australia did better than expected.

    So, it can be done, but who is the right option?

    Graham Arnold
    The Sydney FC boss seems to be the frontrunner for the position. Plenty are calling for another Australian coach to take over from Postecoglou, and Arnold has had plenty of experience with the national team.

    Despite being a club coach since 2010, spending time at the Central Coast Mariners and Vegalta Sendai before moving to Sydney, Arnold worked with Hiddink at the 2006 World Cup, then took over the head job for the Socceroos.

    After six years of being an Australian assistant, he took over as acting coach after Hiddink left and stayed in the position until the end of the 2007 Asian Cup. He was then replaced by Pim Verbeek, but continued as an assistant coach and took on a role with the under 23s side.

    It’s little wonder the man known as ‘Arnie’ is supposedly leading the race for the job.

    Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold.

    (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

    Ante Milicic
    Following the trend of signing an Australian coach to replace Postecoglou, Ante Milic’s name has been thrown into the ring by many sources as a key challenger to Arnold.

    The 43-year-old would be able to bring a younger edge to the team and given he is a current assistant for the Socceroos, he will have knowledge about the systems Postecoglou was running. The systems which enabled Australia to beat Syria and Honduras to qualify for the biggest football shown on earth.

    The problem for Milicic is he has never held a top line coaching role. He has had assistant gigs at Melbourne Heart and Western Sydney Wanderers, but never a head coaching role, and for his first gig to be a World Cup would be a serious risk for the FFA.

    Gianni de Biasi
    De Biasi had a long club coaching career before taking over Albania in 2011. In both the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and Euro 2016, Albania punched well above their weight under the leadership of the Italian.

    It’s thought he could get similarly good results out of the Socceroos, even with a short time frame to get used to the system.

    The Italian confirmed that he was approached by the FFA in July, so he’s certainly on the radar.

    Bert van Marwijk
    Van Marwijk had his first foray into national team coaching with the Netherlands in 2008, spending four years in charge. In the 2010 World Cup, he took the Netherlands all the way to the final, losing to Spain in extra-time.

    He then moved to Saudi Arabia, guiding them to a World Cup qualification for 2018. They were one of the teams who stopped the Socceroos from gaining automatic qualification alongside Japan.

    However, the Dutchman quit just days after their last qualifying match and is now a serious option for the FFA.

    Luiz Felipe Scolari
    The 69-year-old is another World Cup winner, having guided Brazil to victory in 2002. His resume is a long one, having begun his coaching career in 1982.

    In that time, he took Brazil to victory at the FIFA Confederations Cup during 2013, Portugal to the final of Euro 2004 and won three straight Chinese Super League titles with Guangzhou Evergrande before recently leaving the club.

    There is no question he is a good option, but again, it could come down to the question of whether the FFA wants a domestic or international coach. Scolari’s asking price could also be a sticking point.

    Kevin Muscat
    In charge of Melbourne Victory since 2013, Muscat has had plenty of success in the Victorian capital. Muscat was an assistant under Postecoglou in Melbourne and has been head coach ever since the now-former Australian boss left the club.

    In his first full season, Muscat guided the Victory to the premiers plate and championship in the same year and almost outcoached Arnold to win the A-League last season, only going down in a dramatic penalty shootout in the final.

    Muscat also has experience with the Australian squad, having been called up by Postecoglou to serve as an assistant at the 2017 Confederations Cup.

    Kevin Muscat Melbourne Victory A-League Grand Final 2017

    (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

    Tony Popovic
    It’s probably a bit of a stretch to say Popovic might come back to coach the Socceroos. After spending five years in charge of the Western Sydney Wanderers, he sensationally quit to take up a job with Turkish Süper Lig club Karabükspor in the days leading up to the current A-League season.

    While he has plenty of experience and spent more than a decade playing in the national setup during his career, the chance of him coming back from Turkey to take up a job with the Socceroos seems next to nothing.

    Still, he hasn’t had the smoothest of starts with Karabükspor and his record at the Wanderers was superb. He had three grand final appearances in four years and an Asian Champions League victory. That’s an impressive resume, and one the FFA would be best to consider.

    Guus Hiddink
    It wouldn’t be an article looking at potential Socceroos managers without mentioning Hiddink. But could the Dutchman actually take over the job for Australia again? It seems unlikely, given he is now in his 70s, but it’s certainly an option.

    As already discussed, Hiddink got Australia to the knockout stage of the 2006 Cup with limited preparation time and has been successful since with stints in charge of Turkey, the Netherlands and Chelsea.

    It would likely be only a short term gig for Hiddink, given his age and the need to then begin building to the next qualification campaign, but the primary focus must be on performance in Russia, and Hiddink could be the man to get the best out of the Socceroos.

    Roarers, who do you think should take over the Socceroos in the run to Russia? Drop a comment below and let us know.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,800 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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    The Crowd Says (99)

    • November 22nd 2017 @ 12:00pm
      Brian said | November 22nd 2017 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

      Please rule out muscat would be a disaster. Also rule out scolari who i doubt would put in the work required.

      They should seriously look at popovic, and i would also add jurgen klinsman to your list.

      De biasi interesting wonder though if he is looking for the italy job.

      • November 22nd 2017 @ 12:08pm
        Birdman said | November 22nd 2017 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

        agreed – can’t see any point in Muscat, Scolari or Hiddink for that matter.

        Klinsman may not in favour with many but may not be such a bad option either. My picks of Carlo Ancellotti or Claudio Raineri would take the profile of the code in this country to another level in the short term if either could be landed.

        • November 22nd 2017 @ 12:19pm
          jamesb said | November 22nd 2017 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

          I wouldn’t mind seeing an Italian take over as coach. At least Italy will be represented somehow at the world cup.

          • Roar Guru

            November 22nd 2017 @ 12:26pm
            Scott Pryde said | November 22nd 2017 @ 12:26pm | ! Report


            • November 22nd 2017 @ 12:30pm
              Sydneysider said | November 22nd 2017 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

              I would love Ranieri. He is passionate, speaks English and is used to being the underdog.

              But he has a job in the French league at the moment.

              • November 22nd 2017 @ 12:35pm
                Brian said | November 22nd 2017 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

                Ranieri also failed in gis only ever nt job with greece.

                Klinsman took the us out of a group with germany, ghana and portugal last time. That’s the kind of miracle we will be looking for

              • November 22nd 2017 @ 12:54pm
                chris said | November 22nd 2017 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

                Love the optimism Brian

              • Roar Guru

                November 22nd 2017 @ 3:04pm
                spruce moose said | November 22nd 2017 @ 3:04pm | ! Report

                Postecoglou also failed in his career too back in the day.

                Ranieri wouldn’t be the worst idea.

              • Roar Guru

                November 24th 2017 @ 12:11am
                Cousin Claudio said | November 24th 2017 @ 12:11am | ! Report

                Cousin Claudio would love to coach Australia.

      • November 22nd 2017 @ 12:27pm
        Redondo said | November 22nd 2017 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

        Klinsman keeps coming up – but ask anyone in the US and I bet they would advise strongly against. Low propped him up as German coach and he took US football backwards.

        • November 22nd 2017 @ 12:36pm
          Nemesis said | November 22nd 2017 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

          What makes you say that Low propped up Klinsmann in 2006? I’m just looking at Jogi Low’s coaching CV before WC2006 & they’re all clubs that few Aussies would watch regularly: Austria Wien, Tirol Innsbruck, Adansapor, etc.

          • November 22nd 2017 @ 1:07pm
            Redondo said | November 22nd 2017 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

            Comparison of their careers post-2006 and also insider comments from smart footballers like Philipp Lahm, who made some pretty damning comments about Klinsmann.

            • November 22nd 2017 @ 2:18pm
              Nemesis said | November 22nd 2017 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

              Fair enough. I must say I find Germany the most enjoyable National Team to watch & it all started at WC2006. Also enjoyed watching USA under Klinsmann.

      • November 22nd 2017 @ 1:03pm
        Cool N Cold said | November 22nd 2017 @ 1:03pm | ! Report


    • Roar Guru

      November 22nd 2017 @ 12:04pm
      spruce moose said | November 22nd 2017 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

      Gosh you write articles fast Scott!!

    • November 22nd 2017 @ 12:16pm
      jamesb said | November 22nd 2017 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

      A big NO to Ante Milicic. He hasn’t achieved anything as head coach. And a step backwards if we went with either Arnold or the great Guus. Big Phil is past it. De Biasi and van Marwijk would be my options out of that list.

      And Scottie, you are Speedy Gonzales when it comes to putting together articles at such short notice.

      • Roar Guru

        November 22nd 2017 @ 12:27pm
        Scott Pryde said | November 22nd 2017 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

        Tend to agree re Milicic but you want someone who knows the system at this point.

        I try to be! Cheers James.

        • November 22nd 2017 @ 12:59pm
          Fadida said | November 22nd 2017 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

          Or you want someone to build a better system

    • November 22nd 2017 @ 12:19pm
      Bob said | November 22nd 2017 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

      Not domestic and not short term we need someone for the WC and the AC 6 months later

    • November 22nd 2017 @ 12:20pm
      Nemesis said | November 22nd 2017 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

      “Hiddink … has been successful since with stints in charge of Turkey, the Netherlands”

      What results have you been watching?

      Since he left the AUS coaching job,

      Hiddink FAILED to take Russia to WC2010
      Hiddink FAILED to take Turkey to Euro2012
      Hiddink FAILED to take Netherlands to Euro2016

      • November 22nd 2017 @ 12:36pm
        spruce moose said | November 22nd 2017 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

        Why do you care who the coach is?

        On monday you said you don’t care who the coach is, don’t care who the players are…you just watch and hope your team wins.

        • November 22nd 2017 @ 1:51pm
          Matto said | November 22nd 2017 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

          Don’t know what little tiff just walked in on. Why can’t everyone just get along. Sad face.

          Re the article:
          I was going to say the same thing. Hiddinks results with Russia, Turkey and Netherlands were terrible.
          It would seem the game has passed him by.

          And said about Popovic “he has had the smoothest of starts with Karabükspor”.
          No. No results of note. And sitting second bottom of the league.

          • Roar Guru

            November 22nd 2017 @ 2:24pm
            spruce moose said | November 22nd 2017 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

            Lol…it’s a slow day at work and I’m bored.

            It’s fun to highlight flaws in his arguments.

      • November 22nd 2017 @ 4:06pm
        Albo said | November 22nd 2017 @ 4:06pm | ! Report

        I like the idea of the other Dutchman, Bert van Marwijk. Took the Netherlands to the WC final in 2010 and has just taken Saudi Arabia to the finals next year. So has past & recent WC experience , and our Dutch manager experiences have been pretty good in the past. Or Brendan Rodgers from Celtic who at least can get Rogic to score big time goals !

        • November 22nd 2017 @ 7:06pm
          me too said | November 22nd 2017 @ 7:06pm | ! Report

          Think van Marwijk is the standout candidate personally.

    • November 22nd 2017 @ 12:32pm
      Redondo said | November 22nd 2017 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

      None of the above – at least short-term. Break the bank and get Bielsa from relegation-zone Lille. Bielsa would be Postecoglou on steroids.

      An Aussie coach for the World Cup would be on a hiding to nothing – lose 3 games badly and ruin their career.

      Arnold or Popovic would be good long-term options, possibly taking over pre-Asian cup.

      • November 22nd 2017 @ 12:39pm
        Brian said | November 22nd 2017 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

        Bielsa did wonders at chile but its such a sifferent culture would it translate.

        • November 22nd 2017 @ 12:58pm
          Redondo said | November 22nd 2017 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

          He would be similarly autocratic to Hiddink in 2006 – short-term that would be palatable for the players. He might have a problem with some player’s skill levels but I’m sure he could work around that.

          He’s a perfectionist, so he’d get the max possible out of our current crop of players. Slow guys, like Mooy and Rogic, might struggle to win him over. Ditto for old guys like Cahill, Milligan and Jedinak.

          • November 22nd 2017 @ 2:05pm
            Matto said | November 22nd 2017 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

            Doesn’t sound like a good choice if our clearly top 2 players will struggle to win him over ?

            • November 22nd 2017 @ 2:12pm
              Redondo said | November 22nd 2017 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

              One or the other might appeal to him, but unlikely his style of play would allow both on the pitch at the same time.

              Re Rogic – I’m sure he could do better but there’s no way he is one of our top 2 players currently.

              • November 22nd 2017 @ 2:49pm
                Matto said | November 22nd 2017 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

                Fair enough. I wonder if mooy could operate deeper if we had 2 central more defensive mids.

                It’s true I was rating Rogic on his performances for club as well and more so talking potential.

      • Roar Guru

        November 22nd 2017 @ 11:02pm
        Griffo said | November 22nd 2017 @ 11:02pm | ! Report

        Yep. My pick.

        He tends to be aggressive in his style which would suit us. He has systems that might seem a bit bizarre (3-3-3-1 is a favourite of his) but he is a student of the game, almost mad scientist like is El Loco, and my hope is he would impart some of that onto the national scene. He certainly works at his players understanding their roles.

        He would certainly lift the media’s knowledge up. He runs press conferences as long as they want to ask questions and understand his methods. Maybe not too long early on here but there is hope 😉

        • November 23rd 2017 @ 3:38pm
          Redondo said | November 23rd 2017 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

          Bielsa has just been suspended by Lille – not sacked, as yet. Apparently he took an unauthorised break to visit a sick friend in Chile.

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