(Football news) The Netherlands have gone on to lose the most World Cup finals of any nation, they lost in 1974, 1978 and 2010, and they were eliminated by Argentina on penalty kicks in 2014 and this year as they failed to qualify for the 2018 edition. Now it’s Ronald Koeman’s turn to hop on the Netherlands’ coaching merry-go-round.This news comes after a day when Louis Van Gaal announced he is stepping down the as Oranje coach since their campaign ended with a penalty shootout defeat to Argentina in the World Cup quarterfinals and Koeman’s second term begins on Saturday.
Koeman, who recently turned 59, was hired in April to take over after the World Cup. Koeman has plenty of managerial experience, having led the likes of Vitesse, Ajax, Benfica, PSV Eindhoven, AZ Alkmaar and Feyenoord in the Netherlands plus Everton and Southampton in England, Barcelona and Valencia in Spain and a brief spell in Portugal with Benfica. Dutch coaches often tend to return to the national team job as it is a trend over the past half-century, Rinus Michels has served four terms, Dick Advocaat three, and Leo Beenhakker and Guus Hiddink two each. Dutch media and some fans reviewed Van Gaal’s team was criticised for souring lack of aesthetics and free-flowing offensive football of an earlier era.
Players appear to be ageing out ahead of the Euros, which starts in 18 months. Their defence against Argentina had defenders in Daley Blind (32) and Virgil van Dijk (31) who are the oldest among the regular starters. But there is some promise in the squad also with the likes of Xavi Simons (19) and Jenneth Taylor (20) and defenders Jeremie Frimpong (22) and Tyrell Malacia (23) who didn’t see much playing time and could have upcoming opportunities.
The Dutch open their European Championship qualifying against France on March 24 and host Gibraltar three days later they are part of a group that includes Ireland and Greece. The Netherlands plays Spain, Italy or Croatia in the Nations League semifinals on June 14, followed four days later by the championship or third-place game. The job on hand is quite a challenging one but with upcoming young exciting players, the Dutch can transform into a commendable team and challenge for major trophies.
“Football is evolving, and it is much more difficult than it was 20 years ago to play as offensively as Ajax used to play. And if you fail to see that or fail to understand, then it’s very difficult to understand that this is the way things go. And when in 2014 I started developing a more defensive system, people criticised me. But now half the world is playing that kind of football.”Van Gaal said through a translator
“What I’m leaving behind is an excellent group. This is a team which was very close, very close, team spirit, and a lot of football skill.”Van Gaal said he was forced to play a different system because of the lack of true wingers.