Socceroos lure back iconic manager Guus Hiddink for New Zealand match

The Socceroos have confirmed that former coach Guus Hiddink will temporarily return to the dugout when Australia take on New Zealand in Brisbane on September 22.

The first of two friendlies will serve both as a farewell to the team ahead of the 2022 World Cup and as a 100th anniversary celebration.

Hiddink, who led the Socceroos to the 2006 World Cup, was invited to back up current coach Graham Arnold – who himself had once assisted Hiddink.

Arnold believes the legendary manager will help inspire the Socceroos ahead of a pivotal period and hopes Hiddink gets the recognition he deserves in Brisbane.

“We are delighted that Guus Hiddink has accepted our invitation to return to Australia for this important game at Suncorp Stadium,” said Arnold.

“Not only is it important that we try to recognize people who have made a tremendous contribution to the sport in our nation, but I believe having Guus in camp will inspire the players who are fighting for our two-game series the All Whites were selected – all competing for a place in our final FIFA World Cup squad to be announced in November.

“Guus is a great storyteller so I can’t wait to see the impact he’s having on this current generation of Australian gamers. Many of our guys know about his exploits and achievements at international level, but never had the opportunity to meet him.

“This will also be a great opportunity for football fans to thank Guus for his work for Australian football in 2005 and 2006.”

Hiddink retired from coaching in September 2021 after a successful career in which he managed clubs such as Chelsea, Real Madrid, PSV and a host of international teams such as Netherlands, South Korea, Russia and Turkey.

The 75-year-old still cherishes his time with the Socceroos and couldn’t resist the chance of a reunion.

“It was a wonderful time for me. I am very happy to go there [to Australia] because every now and then when I talk to people about my career, I always highlight my experience with the Socceroos,” said Hiddink.

“This is a chapter in my career that gave me a lot of energy. I met very nice people and very open-minded people, which I really enjoyed.”

Socceroos vs New Zealand game details

  • Date: September 22, 2022
  • Venue: Suncorp Stadium
  • Kick-off: 20:00 (AEST)

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