Australia hires Ange Postecoglou to lead World Cup charge
SYDNEY (AP) -- Ange Postecoglou has been hired as head coach of the Socceroos in a five-year deal that could involve two World Cups.
The 48-year-old Postecoglou, who led Brisbane Roar to two domestic A-League titles before moving to Melbourne Victory last year, is the first Australian head coach of the Socceroos since Frank Farina in 2005.
Holger Osieck, a German, was fired earlier this month after back-to-back 6-0 defeats to Brazil and France, despite helping Australia qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy confirmed the widely expected appointment of Postecoglou on Wednesday, announcing a deal running through the 2014 World Cup, the 2015 Asian Cup and qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.
Postecoglou, who migrated to Australia from Greece with his family when he was five and played four times for the Socceroos, will be in charge for the international friendly against Costa Rica on Nov. 19.
''I was proud to represent my country as a player and I have the same immense feeling of pride today,'' Postecoglou said. ''The Socceroos belong to the people of this nation. It's my job to make sure we represent all that's good in Australian football.''
Australia narrowly missed out on qualifying for the 2002 World Cup and then, with Dutchman Guus Hiddink at the helm, qualified for Germany 2006 and reached the second round before a contentious defeat to eventual champion Italy.
Pim Verbeek was the next full-time coach, but his tenure ended with Australia's disappointing first-round exit at South Africa 2010. Osieck got the Australians through qualifying for Brazil, but the Socceroos playing stocks and rankings have plummeted since the so-called ''golden era'' in 2006 and there's been constant criticism domestically about a lack of regeneration in the national team.
Lowy made no secret of the fact an Australian candidate would be preferred to replace Osieck and drew up a shortlist including Postecoglou, who was national youth coach from 2000-2007, and Graham Arnold, who was interim Socceroos coach in 2007 between the contracts of Hiddink and Verbeek.
''I have never taken the view that the coach should be an Australian for the sake of having an Australian,'' Lowy said Wednesday. ''I have always believed we should get the best person we can for the job.
''The fact that Ange is the best qualified, and an Australian, achieves our objective.''
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