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Advocaat to coach Dutch team again, Gullit his assistant

IANS logoIANS 09-05-2017

"We are very happy with the appointment of Advocaat and Gullit," said KNVB technical director Hans van Breukelen, reports Xinhua news agency.

"Advocaat is a successful coach and Gullit had a lot of success as a player. I have the holy belief that these two as a team can lead us to the World Cup."

Talking about the idea behind the pair's appointments, Breukelen said: "We had two possible scenarios. We could choose for the long term or choose for the short and try to do anything to qualify for the World Cup. We chose the latter option. We wanted a coach with experience, an inspiration and a coach who had success."

The 69-year-old Advocaat is currently the head coach of Fenerbahce. He succeeds Danny Blind, who was fired on March 26 after a 0-2 loss against Bulgaria in the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Assistant Fred Grim temporarily took over in the following friendly against Italy in Amsterdam and will stay on as head coach until the Turkish football season is over for Fenerbahce. Advocaat might therefore miss the matches against Morocco (May 31) and Cote d'Ivoire (Rotterdam), but will at least start his third term as Dutch national team coach on June 9 in the World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg.

Advocaat has a long history with the KNVB. He started as assistant of national team coaches Rinus Michels and Leo Beenhakker from 1984 until 1987, and from 1990 until 1992 he was once again assistant of Michels.

In 1992, Advocaat promoted from assistant to head coach and led the Dutch team to the quarter-finals of the 1994 World Cup in the United States. His second term started in 2002 and he coached the Netherlands to the semi-finals of Euro 2004 in Portugal.

In May last year, Advocaat returned at the national team again, this time as assistant of Blind, to give the staff the needed experience. However, three months later he moved again, after Fenerbahce offered him a contract.

The fact that he left the team last year makes the appointment controversial. On the other hand, no one doubts that Advocaat is well suited for the job and other candidates were not available, like Everton coach Ronald Koeman, not willing, like Frank de Boer, Roger Schmidt, both hoping for a new club, or even former national team coach Louis van Gaal, who is in the picture for a director's job at the KNVB.

Together with Henk ten Cate, currently the coach of Al Jazira in the United Arab Emirates, Advocaat finally was the main candidate to do the job. Ten Cate even got the offer to be the head coach, but after one day KNVB's Breukelen backed down and moved to Advocaat as the number one option.

Advocaat has coached a number of other countries in the past, United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Belgium, Russia and Serbia.

The goal of Advocaat is to lead the Netherlands to the 2018 World Cup, after the Dutch had failed to qualify for Euro 2016. After the 0-2 loss against Bulgaria, the Netherlands dropped to the fourth place in World Cup qualifying group A, behind France, Sweden and Bulgaria.

Qualification for Russia is far away for the Dutch. The nine winners of each European group will qualify for the World Cup, while the eight best runners-up will advance to the play-offs.

If Advocaat succeeds in his mission, he will also coach the team at the World Cup in Russia. After that a new coach will arrive.

With Gullit, Advocaat got an assistant with great authority. The 54-year-old Gullit captained 'Oranje' to the only trophy in the country's history, the European title in 1988. After his playing career, he has been head coach of Chelsea, Newcastle United, Feyenoord, LA Galaxy and Terek Grozny.

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