Third time’s the charm.
Dick Advocaat has been named Netherlands manager for the third time in his career, with the Oranje in the middle of their qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup.
The KNVB also named former Chelsea and Feyenoord manager Ruud Guliit as Advocaat’s assistant.
“I am very happy with the appointment of Advocaat and Guliit,” said KNVB technical director Hans van Breukelen.
“There were two scnarios,” added van Breukelen. “We opt for the longer term, or we do everything that is possible to get to the 2018 World Cup. We chose the second scenario. It had to be a very experienced professional, preferably an authority.”
Advocaat has handled the national team twice, once from September 1992 to December 1994 and again in January 2002 to July 2004. They won 31 of 55 games he managed, though they only reached the 2004 European Cup semi-final.
The 70-year-old lack national team success but he led PSV to an Eredivisie championship in 1997, and a KNVB Cup win the season before that. He also won two Scottish Premier League championships with the Rangers, along with two Scottish Cup and one League Cup.
He also steered St. Petersburg to the Russian Premier League championship in 2008, along with the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup.
Guliit won 66 caps and scored 17 goals for the Netherlands, and managed a number of big teams before taking this assistant manager stint.
The 54-year-old was once a player-manager to Chelsea from 1996 to 1998, before becoming Newcastle United’s manager in the 1998-1999 season. He coached Feyenoord in 2004 and LA Galaxy in 2007.
Advocaat and Guliit have a formidable task ahead of them, as the Oranje are fourth in Group A in the qualifiers and are six points behind leaders France.
Former manager Danny Blind only won two out of five games in the qualifiers, and was sacked after a 2-0 loss in Bulgaria.
Only the top team will earn a sure spot in the final tournament, and the second-place team will earn a playoff spot. Currently, Sweden have 10 points, while Bulgaria have nine, and the Netherlands, seven.