First impressions not everything for Socceroos boss van Marwijk

Socceroos coach Bert Van Marwijk has revealed he won’t be making any hasty decisions when it comes to naming his 2018 FIFA World Cup squad and has left the door open for any player to earn their ticket to Russia.

After weeks of scouting, van Marwijk has had his first chance to get on the pitch with the Australian team in Oslo ahead of Saturday’s (AEDT) World Cup warm-up clash with Norway, and against Colombia four days later in London.

While Australia’s 26-man-squad was determined to make a good first impression for their new coach, during the five day training camp, van Marwijk admitted he is nowhere near finalising any names for the Socceroos' World Cup campaign in Russia this June.

“I would say my first impression of the players is very positive so far. I am happy with the standard of football,” van Marwijk said.

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“This camp is more an opportunity to get to know each other more than anything. We don’t have the time to train a lot with each other and for me to explain my philosophy.

“It is a bit dangerous to get too much information from the beginning.  It is too early to have any expectations.”

It is sure to be music to the ears of fringe players, such as Daniel Arzani, Alex Gersbach, Brad Smith, Rhys Williams and Mitch Langerak, who missed the cut for van Marwijk’s first Socceroos squad and will now have three months to work their way into his plans.

Van Marwijk’s plea for more time with the squad ahead of the World Cup has been heard by the FFA with the traditional farewell game in Australia being overlooked for a month-long training camp in Turkey this May.

It is here he believes the real work begins as the players make their final push for World Cup selection with matches against Czech Republic in Vienna and Hungary in Budapest also scheduled.

However, the first challenge facing the Dutchman is selecting a starting line-up for Saturday’s match against Norway.

The Socceroos coach hopes to give as many players a chance to play and has even hinted at giving all three goalkeepers match time.

“There are a few new players in the squad and I am anxious to see how they play,” van Marwijk said.

“In regards to the starting line-up, my decision will be based on a bit on training but mainly on qualities I think I need to suit my style.



“I told the players that I cannot promise that everyone will get an opportunity but I haven’t told them the line-up.

“I have the freedom to let the game go and make decisions depending on how the game plays out.”

Whatever team van Marwijk goes with, it won’t be impacted by the opposition with both Norway and Colombia expected to name strong sides.

“We have analaysed Norway’s last four games so I like to think we know a fair bit about them,” he said.

“It is possible they surprise us with how they line-up but most important for me is that I learn our team so it doesn’t matter how they play.”


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3 min read
Published 23 March 2018 at 2:34pm
By Nick Houghton