Friday, July 20, 2007


Mr. Not Hiddink

The speculation that Dick Advocaat may take over the Socceroo reins from the hapless Graham Arnold has produced some strange reactions.

Although Advocaat wouldn't be my first choice, his record is not exactly poor, especially at international level. He took a transitional Dutch team (badly rocked by the pre-tournament withdrawal of Ruud Gullit) to the 1994 World Cup quarter-finals, losing narrowly to Brazil.

His return to the Oranje hot spot for Euro 2004 was moderately successful; the team may not have thrilled, but they made it to the semis (and, in my opinion, were a little hard done by in the semi-final, where Portugal's right-back Miguel got away with some pretty rough treatment of the young winger Arjen Robben).

Then there's 2006.

It's amazing that his stewardship of the Korean team at last year's World Cup has been considered a failure, when in fact he did better than any previous manager of an Asian team in a European World Cup since 1966.

And yet, in misty-eyed, naïve articles like this, we read...

Perhaps FFA should consult the South Koreans, who turned to Advocaat last year to follow Hiddink's unforgettable semi-final charge of the 2002 World Cup.

They were left bitterly disappointed when Advocaat failed to get them out of the group stage in Germany, despite needing only a draw against Switzerland in their final pool game.

Mr. Lusetich, you might recall that the Koreans' games in the 2002 tournament were Korea. You might also recall one or two appalling refereeing decisions which gave the Koreans a decided leg-up at the earlier event.

Then there's this comparison, which leaves this particular reader rather puzzled:

Hiddink, of course, performed miracles with Australia in Germany, while Advocaat was criticised widely for South Korea's early exit from last year's World Cup.

In fairness, Mr. Dick's article gives Advocaat a pretty fair hearing, but is the above really a suitable description of the fortunes of the two countries when they both, erm, ended up with four points from the group stage?

The chief objection to Advocaat appears to be very simple: he isn't Guus.

I've stated elsewhere that some Australian football commentators, and the vast majority of the Australian football public, seriously need to Get Over Hiddink. He made a very fine contribution, but he has moved on, and so should we. Mr. Lusetich's cringeworthy hankerings in the article linked above have all the hallmarks of a child looking for his missing mother in a supermarket.

My main concern about Advocaat is that his legendarily heavy-handed style may not be a very good fit for Australian players; on the other hand, on the evidence of this Asian Cup, a firm hand mightn't be a bad idea for the Socceroos, whose high-profile stars have simply not been playing with anything like sufficient commitment in Thailand.

Spot on mikey. I think Advocaat could do a decent job for us, and I think he'd definitely be better than Van Gaal given we're still obsessed with the Dutch Connection.
I also be happy with Advocaat. However I would like to pose a question to those here that are more football savvy than myself.

It seems that we are going to a pattern to get high-ranking coaches just for the World Cup qualification campaign (and hopefully at it as well) but where at the end they go on somewhere else.

I may be no fan of Arnold. But the way he is being treated by the FFA is no way that a professional sport administration should treat a coach of the national team.

Being treated as a 'stopgap' is counter productive and detrimental to the sport.

I wonder whether it would be better to get a coach which is still a good coach, but maybe not in the 'Hiddink' level, but that is willing to stick around for a while and get to mould the team.

Otherwise we will have this pattern of a high flyer followed by someone just being there before another high flyer is found.
Whatever happened to "the Dutch Graeme Souness" mikey? :p (or was it "international" rather than "Dutch"? I can't remember).
...Whatever happened to "the Dutch Graeme Souness" mikey?...

Damn your memory, Hir0. ;-)

Yeah, a cantankerous bastard for sure (he certainly has that reputation). But I can't see Advocaat giving a player a run in an EPL game on word-of-mouth recommendation from a George Weah impersonator, put it that way....
Dick would be a good choice.
Guus showed Asussies love dutch training styles.

Moorey thinks Dick is superb.

Gereard should only be considered for a technical director's job in which he is suited.

the Asian cup debacle has shown we need a very good coach. We need to get to South Africa and then remember the world cup in SA will be held in winter!
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