Football Federation Australia (FFA) CEO David Gallop says new Socceroos boss Bert van Marwijk was their number one target.
Gallop refused to be drawn on identifying rival contenders for the Australia post, where a shortlist of candidates were drawn up before final interviews.
He acknowledged the speculation, which claimed the likes of Roberto Mancini, Marcelo Bielsa, Louis van Gaal, Jurgen Klinsmann and Luiz Felipe Scolari were potential candidates.
The FFA boss firmly insisted the ex-Netherlands and Saudi Arabia coach was their number one target and they were delighted to have secured his services.
“There was a lot of speculation,” Gallop said. “I think the good thing about the process was it allowed us to narrow things down to a target.
“The number one target was Bert. Previously he’s been so successful over such a long time.
“He’s been right through a World Cup campaign, taking Holland to the final and more recently with the Saudi team, which meant he and his people had intimate knowledge of our players. That’s a key factor.”
Gallop added: “We were able to narrow things down to some criteria that we felt would get us the right person for the job for Russia.
“Top of the list was Bert. His credentials … made it a compelling case for us.
“We were able to get our number one target last week in Amsterdam.
“It’s important we hit the ground running in this process.”
FFA chairman Steven Lowy echoed those sentiments, stating they “couldn’t have wished for a better outcome” and said it was “fate”.
“The qualities that Bert brings are he’s a consummate professional, a world class coach, very experienced, been to a World Cup final, almost beat Spain, he’s been a very experienced club coach with top teams in Holland and Germany, he knows our team, given the team pressures we had, so it’s the combination of all of that,” Lowy said.
“You’ve got to believe in fate. It’s fate that Bert is not with Saudi anymore. The criteria we set, fit the criteria of Bert like a glove.
“I think you need to believe in that a bit. You need to be optimistic.
“David, I and the (FFA) Board couldn’t have wished for a better outcome given the circumstances.
“You can see Bert wants to succeed and win. We’re not going to the World Cup to make up the numbers.
“We’re going to compete and win. That’s a shared objective.”
Gallop added that Van Marwijk would bring assistants and advisors as part of his new coaching structure, following speculation of ex-Netherlands international Mark van Bommel's appointment.
"We’ve been able to secure a world class coach within the budget that we had set," Gallop said.
"We’ll also get some of his trusted advisors within that budget, so it’s a great deal and we’re really excited.”