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Oct 12, 2013

Socceroos in bidding war for Guus Hiddink

Australia will need to win a bidding war to secure Guus Hiddink's return as Socceroos coach, with initial talks underway.

At least three other nations are also sounding out Dutch maestro Hiddink about coaching them at next year's World Cup in Brazil.

Hiddink has emerged as a frontrunner to replace Holger Osieck, who was sacked as Socceroos coach after their 6-0 loss to France in Paris on Saturday.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) hierarchy have spoken with Hiddink, who steered Australia's best-ever World Cup campaign, in 2006.

But Poland, Denmark and Hungary are also pitching to win the services of the 66-year-old, who won't make any decision until the end of the month.

The FFA's technical director Han Berger, a long-term friend of Hiddink, has made unofficial approaches to the former Chelsea coach.

But Hiddink's agent Cees van Nieuwenhuizen, who described the Socceroos as being in a "terrible situation", said the coach wouldn't weigh up his many offers until the end of the month.

"I am not surprised that Australia are interested considering their last few matches," Van Nieuwenhuizen told the ABC on Sunday.

"Losing 6-0 to both France and Brazil is pretty dreadful and it looks like something had to change for Australia.

"But, as things stand today, there are no official negotiations between Guus and the FFA. But of course Guus is close with Han Berger and they will have spoken."

Hiddink's intention was to return to coaching at the World Cup in Brazil.

"He has a number of offers to consider in relation to the World Cup has not made his mind up yet about anything," van Nieuwenhuizen said.

Assistant coach Aurelio Vidmar will coach the Socceroos in their friendly against Canada in London on Tuesday night (Wednesday am AEDT).

But FFA chief executive David Gallop has reservations about appointing an Australian to the Socceroos job at this stage, despite several pundits calling for A-League bosses Ange Postecoglou or Graham Arnold to fill the role.

"It certainly makes sense to have an Australian coach but whether that makes sense right now, is something we need to look at seriously over the next few weeks," Gallop told AAP in Paris on Saturday.

"... It's not appropriate to go into who has been contacted and who hasn't but obviously some feelers have been put out.

"We're always exploring options and, at the moment, that's all we're doing.

"We'll hopefully have some definitive answers on that over the next few weeks.

"Certainly it's something we want to get along with straight away."

Gallop said whoever was appointed would have a strong focus on the Socceroos' long-term success, along with a competitive showing at next year's World Cup.

"This is about the need to rejuvenate, regenerate our team," Gallop said, adding there was an opportunity for a new coach to make significant changes before Brazil.

"We've got a lot to look forward to in the next months and years.

"Obviously Brazil is important, as is the Asian Cup 2015, and ultimately we want to be at the next World Cup as well. This is a decision taken in the long-term interests of the team."

Besides Hiddink, other foreign candidates include former Chile and Argentina coach Marcelo Bielsa and ex-Chelsea manager Robert Di Matteo.

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