SYDNEY (AP) — An Australian is expected to guide the Socceroos when Football Federation Australia chooses a new coach, chairman Frank Lowy said on Tuesday.

German veteran Holger Osieck helped Australia navigate the Asian World Cup qualifying tournament to secure a spot in Brazil but was fired last weekend in the wake of back-to-back 6-0 losses to Brazil and France in friendlies.

To replace Osieck, "our preference is clearly for an Australian coach," Lowy said.

"Three names are being talked about and it's not wrong that we have three possible Australian candidates."

Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou and former Socceroos assistant coach Graham Arnold are considered to be the front-runners, with a decision expected within two weeks.

Speculation has also brought up Guus Hiddink, the Dutchman who guided Australia to the second round at the 2006 World Cup after helping South Korea reach the semifinals in 2002, and former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier.

With only eight months until the World Cup, and with Australia hosting the next Asian Cup in early 2015, Lowy said the FFA would be seeking to appoint a long-term manager.

Osieck's departure followed a trend for Australian national teams in recent months, with two other foreign coaches being fired after poor performances in international competition since July.

New Zealander Robbie Deans was fired after the Wallabies lost to the British and Irish Lions in a rugby union series, and South African Mickey Arthur was fired as Australia cricket coach only weeks before the Ashes series in England. In both cases, they were replaced by Australians.

 

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