Hiddink departs as Dutch national coach

The Hague, June 30 (IANS) Guus Hiddink has left his position as Dutch national team head coach, the country’s football association (KNVB) announced.

“I regret this development. Unfortunately, the results of the work of Guus were not visible for everyone right away, we thank Guus for his efforts,” KNVB professional football director Bert van Oostveen said on Monday, reports Xinhua.

Hiddink said: “I am sorry that it went this way. It was an honour to coach the Dutch national team again and I wish my successor, the staff and the squad every success on the way to the European Championships in France.”

The KNVB states that it will now consider about filling the vacancy and that all other staff members will remain under contract at the KNVB. Earlier on Monday, it was reported that Hiddink’s replacement would be assistant Danny Blind.

Hiddink started his second reign as head coach on August 1 last year after predecessor Louis van Gaal had led ‘Oranje’ to third place at the World Cup in Brazil.

The plan was that he would stay on until Euro 2016 and that Blind would be promoted to head coach for the following two years until the 2018 World Cup with Hiddink as advisor. The KNVB seems to have picked this scenario one year earlier now, with one difference, no Hiddink in the background.

During his second reign as coach Hiddink failed to lead the Netherlands to good results, with five losses, one draw and four wins in 10 matches. The bad results had caused a wave of criticism in Dutch media and some already doubted in the beginning if Hiddink could continue.

Last year the 68-year-old Hiddink had already hinted to step down if his team would lose their Euro 2016 qualifier against Latvia on November 16. The Dutch beat Latvia 6-0.

Earlier this month, Hiddink made public that he considered to already make room for Blind and continue in an advisory role.

Hiddink was coach of the Dutch national team from 1995 to 1998. He led them to the Euro 1996 quarter-finals and 1998 World Cup semifinals.

In July 2013 Hiddink resigned as coach of Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala. He previously coached PSV Eindhoven, Fenerbahce, Valencia, Real Madrid, Real Betis, Chelsea and the national teams of South Korea, Australia, Russia and Turkey.

The Netherlands are currently a disappointing third in Euro 2016 qualifying Group A behind Iceland and the Czech Republic. Hiddink’s probable successor Blind has the mission to lead the Dutch to the European Championships and bring back the good feeling of the World Cup.

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