August 5 – Louis van Gaal is back. For a third time, the Dutchman will take charge of the Netherlands, succeeding Frank de Boer following Oranje’s disappointing campaign at Euro 2020.
“Dutch football has always been close to my heart and coaching the national team is, in my opinion, a key position for moving our football forward,” said Van Gaal. “Moreover, I consider it an honour.”
Van Gaal will have little time to waste. In September, the Netherlands have a triple header in World Cup qualifying. The Dutch sit in a second place in Group G on six points, having lost their opening qualifier 4-2 against Turkey, but they won’t be able to afford any slip-ups next month away to Norway and at home to both Montenegro and Senol Gunes’ Turkish team.
“There is little time until the next qualifiers so the focus is therefore immediately 100% on players and what approach we will take,” said Van Gaal.
“We have in the coming months ahead of us the assignment of qualifying for the World Cup,” said the Dutch football federation’s director Nico-Jan Hoogma. “We have little preparation time and given this, we were looking for a coach with exceptional qualities, who can also quickly anticipate and for whom coaching the national team does not hold any secrets. With his experience and record at the highest level, we identified Louis van Gaal.”
The idiosyncratic coach led the Netherlands from 2000-2002 and again from 2012-2014 before he joined Manchester United. His first spell with Oranje led to what he called “the biggest disappointment of his coaching career” when the Netherlands failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup in a group with both Portugal and Ireland. A decade later, the Netherlands did qualify for the global finals and Van Gaal and his charges unexpectedly won a bronze medal at the 2014 World Cup.
The Dutch have had seven different coaches since Van Gaal’s Brazilian adventure, but with little success. They failed to reach the last World Cup and fell at the first real hurdle at Euro 2020 when the Czech Republic proved too strong in the round of sixteen.
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