Koeman takes on tough Netherlands job

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RONALD Koeman has been appointed as coach of the Netherlands national team up to and including the 2022 World Cup, the Dutch football association, or KNVB, announced yesterday.
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Ronald Koeman

RONALD Koeman has been appointed as coach of the Netherlands national team up to and including the 2022 World Cup, the Dutch football association, or KNVB, announced yesterday.

The 54-year-old former international defender is the seventh coach in eight years for the Dutch team, which was runner-up at the 2010 World Cup and finished third in Brazil four years later but failed to qualify for the 2018 finals in Russia.

He will be expected to help the Dutch to qualify for the next European Championship in 2020 and World Cup two years thereafter, reviving the team’s fortunes in the process.

Nic-Jan Hoogma, currently with Heracles Alemlo, was also named a top sports director by the KNVB.

Koeman, who earned 78 caps for the Netherlands, succeeds Dick Advocaat, who had been brought in midway through last year after the sacking of Danny Blind in March.

His first assignment will be a friendly against England at the Amsterdam Arena on March 23, followed by a meeting with Portugal in Geneva three days later. The Dutch are helping the two Russia-bound teams prepare for this year’s World Cup.

Koeman has been out of work since being dismissed by Everton last October after a poor run of form in the Premier League.

He did, however, enjoy significant success as a club coach in his homeland winning three Eredivisie titles — two with Ajax Amsterdam (2001-02, 2003-04) and one with PSV Eindhoven (2006-07).

He has also coached Vitesse Arnhem, Benfica, Valencia, AZ Alkmaar, Feyenoord and Southampton.

His coaching career began as an assistant to Guus Hiddink with the Dutch side in 1997 but he left after a year to take up a similar role under Louis van Gaal at Barcelona.

Former Dutch international Kees van Wonderen will be Koeman’s assistant with Patrick Lodewijks as goalkeeper coach.

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