Verbeek steps in for Socceroos

Dutchman Pim Verbeek was unveiled on Thursday as the new coach of Australia, tasked with guiding the Socceroos to the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals.

Verbeek and Frenchman Phillippe Troussier had been the front-runners for the job since another Dutchman, Dick Advocaat, reneged on his contract three weeks ago to stay with new Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg.

Verbeek, 51, told a video conference he was positive Australia would be in South Africa. "I promise that we will do everything to succeed and I am 100 percent convinced that we will succeed and that we will go to the World Cup and we will have a good (tournament) over there also," Verbeek said.

"It's a major challenge, it's a big challenge, and I am really looking forward to coming to Australia and to learn about the A-League. I am committed to also helping to develop the game in Australia," he added.

"I intend to become as familiar as possible with football in Australia and I will be based in Australia and intend to relocate immediately. I will be in Australia next week to observe players in the final rounds of the A-League.

"I am excited to be involved in what is an exciting time for football in Australia and I look forward to assisting the FFA in developing football in Australia and making myself available to support the national football development plan, in particular working with Australian coaches."

Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy, who was largely responsible for snaring Guus Hiddink as Australia's coach for last year's FIFA World Cup in Germany, said Verbeek was the right man for the job.

"After very careful consideration and a rigorous recruitment process I am delighted that we have secured the services of a very experienced and respected national coach for the Socceroos," Lowy said at the announcement.

"Pim Verbeek has a vast range of experience he has gained over 25 years in coaching, including several stints in Asia, and we believe he is the right man for the job of leading the Socceroos to the 2010 World Cup."

Verbeek led Korea Republic to the AFC Asian Cup semi-finals earlier this year and previously was assistant to Hiddink with the Koreans when they reached the semi-finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup semi-finals.

He boasts excellent knowledge of the Asian region having coached at club level in Japan as well as stints as assistant coach at the United Arab Emirates and South Korea, firstly under Hiddink and then Advocaat at last year's FIFA World Cup.

Verbeek has also held coaching appointments in some of Europe's leading leagues and clubs including Dutch giants Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven and Germany's Borussia Monchengladbach. He has also been employed by the KNVB (Netherlands Football Federation) in a coach development role and with the national team in a scouting role.

The Socceroos have been without a permanent coach since Hiddink quit the job after taking Australia to the second round of the FIFA World Cup finals in Germany. Hiddink's assistant Graham Arnold had been in a caretaker's role but has since taken charge of the nation's Olympic team.

Verbeek's appointment maintains the Dutch coaching influence at the top of Australian football through Hiddink, Advocaat and technical director Rob Baan. Verbeek flew from the Netherlands to Singapore to discuss the role with an FFA delegation on Wednesday ahead of the official announcement.

Australia have been grouped with China, Asian Cup champions Iraq and Qatar in their FIFA World Cup qualifying group, which gets underway in February.