Australia Praying for “A Little Miracle”
Guus Hiddink must be a glutton for punishment. Having taken two nations to the World Cup semi-finals already and now in charge of Dutch Champions PSV, the club he won the European Cup with in 1988, you would think he might not want another job.
But when Football Federation Australia called time on Frank Farina’s six-year reign at the end of June, a call went out to the man who set Seoul and the rest of Dominoqq South Korea on fire in 2002.
Although he had little more than four months’ preparation before their do-or-die World Cup play-off against the fifth-placed South American side, and about as many chances to watch his men play in that time period, Hiddink was happy to oblige.
Australia are the big fish in the small Oceania pond whose dreams of World Cup glory rest realistically on only two matches every four years. No other country in the FIFA world must undergo so many meaningless games in between
“Those games are not really serious,” Hiddink confirmed. They win all those games and then all of a sudden they have to play a powerhouse from South America. Now they are in Asia it is better for their development.”
Soccerphile was one of only three media outlets who made the effort to engage perhaps the world’s greatest coach at Australia’s recent training session in London, where he explained just why he took on this new challenge:
“I had two other options but I did two World Cups in France or Korea,” Hiddink told us, “and they were nice experiences for me so when the Australian Federation asked me if I could help them out for the qualification I said yes.” One of …