5/18/2018 10:38:20 PM (GMT+3)

We're in a very difficult group in Russia, says Aussie coach


SYDNEY, Australia: Bert van Marwijk led his native Netherlands to the FIFA World Cup final eight years ago in South Africa, but this time he will be guiding the Australia ship in Russia.

More recently, Van Marwijk helped Saudi Arabia end their 12-year World Cup drought, only to resign following qualification for Russia 2018.

He then joined Australia after it was left vacant by Ange Postecoglou’s surprise exit last November.

The 65-year-old told FIFA.com about his new side’s characteristics, the qualities of the France team and his memories of South Africa 2010.

How much benefit does a coach take from previously experience at a World Cup?

I don’t think you can demonstrate it with words, but I think it has to do with your attitude. The players have to feel that you have the experience, so I think it is the small things rather than anything particularly special.

What traits have you seen from the Australian team so far after your brief time together??

They are motivated with a good mentality. They are good listeners. My impression of the players was good from the first day. The ten days together in March was very good and useful for us, and I was satisfied with how we played in the first half in the goalless draw against Colombia.

What qualities would you like to bring out of the team in Russia?

I will not bring something out of the team. The challenge is to find a system which fits the players, and it is even better when it fits the coach too.

What are your thoughts on Australia’s group which features France, Denmark and Peru?

I’m telling you nothing new when I say this is a very difficult group, maybe one of the best at the World Cup. Especially France, and we saw in part of their match against Colombia in March they have a very good team and have a big chance of winning the title. They have fast and creative players, physically strong, and have one of the best players in the world at the moment in Kylian Mbappe.

Can you recall the South Africa 2010 campaign?

It was a great experience, and one of the most beautiful moments in my career. Normally when you stay in a tournament, you are growing and that was the case with us.