Netherlands set to implement changes after disastrous Euro 2012 campaign
Bert van Marwijk, who led Feyenoord to Uefa Cup triumph in 2002, resigned as Netherlands coach recently following their early exit from Euro 2012. The process of reverting Oranje to play the ‘Dutch way’ again can now begin.
Van Marwijk is frequently described as pragmatic due to his cautious brand of football. Although his favoured 4-2-3-1 has been used before by Dutch coaches, Van Marwijk’s interpretation has led to criticism.
The most common grievance amongst his critics was his regular use of two defensive midfielders instead of employing a deep-lying playmaker to circulate the ball quicker.
Van Marwijk led the Netherlands to the World Cup final in 2010 and qualified with ease for major tournaments on two occasions. His record as national manager is impressive, winning on 34 occasions in his 52 games in charge, suffering defeat on just eight occasions. He used 56 players in his tenure and gave debuts to 26 players.
KNVB (Dutch FA) director Bert van Oostveen had said pre-tournament that Van Marwijk would not lose his job if Oranje, who were among the favourites to win Euro 2012, made an early exit from the tournament.
The future direction of the national team after Euro 2012 seemed to convince Van Marwijk to quit. Internal problems during the championship would have led to difficult decisions over the next few months. Would the coach refuse to select troublemakers during World Cup qualifiers?
In the end Van Marwijk decided to quit and issued a short statement: “I have severe doubts, but have decided to take this step anyway.”
Issues within the Dutch camp came to light following their exit from the tournament. Wesley Sneijder accused a squad member of leaking tactical plans to the press during Euro 2012. Voetbal International claimed that Van Marwijk would have axed Rafael van der Vaart, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and John Heitinga had he remained in charge. Gregory van der Wiel has been criticised for isolating himself from the squad, whilst Arjen Robben was labelled as selfish. Robin van Persie and Ibrahim Afellay were also said to have excluded themselves from the group. Mark van Bommel had already revealed plans to let younger players take his place whilst a host of players including Wilfred Bouma, Dirk Kuyt and Khalid Bouhlarouz are set to be left out of future squads due to their age and poor form.
Youngsters such as Luuk de Jong, Luciano Narsingh, Vurnon Anita, Kevin Strootman, Jeffrey Gouweleeuw, Jordy Clasie, Adem Maher, Jetro Willems and Ricardo Van Rhijn are set to freshen up a squad that has remained largely unchanged since 2010.
Although some players will not get a chance at redemption, defender Ron Vlaar believes the Dutch squad can learn from their disastrous Euro 2012 campaign: “We all need to look in the mirror and realise that this should never happen again. Let it be a hard lesson.”
Van Oostveen – who will lead process of employing a new manager – is adamant that he would not appoint a foreign coach to replace Van Marwijk, telling AD: “It would be a travesty for the image of our national football.“
Under Van Marwijk, the Netherlands played a system that had seemingly abandoned the traditions of Dutch football. Although his method yielded results, it was an approach that was unrecognisable to previous Oranje teams.
Van Oostveen is aiming to get the national side to reflect the style and traditions of Dutch football once again: “We want our team to play recognisable football with our own identity and style.”
The candidates to succeed Van Marwijk and implement changes in personal and style include some seemingly unavailable coaches such as Ronald Koeman, Frank de Boer, Guus Hiddink and Frank Rijkaard.
Ronald Koeman – winner of the Rinus Michels Award (manager of the year) this season after guiding a young and largely homegrown Feyenoord side to second place in the Eredivisie and into the Champions League qualifiers – has already ruled himself out along with Ajax manager Frank de Boer. The unavailability of the two best Dutch managers last year is an early blow for the KNVB.
Former Netherlands manager Frank Rijkaard, who led the Dutch to the semi-finals of Euro 2000 in Belgium and the Netherlands, is also not currently interested according to his agent Perry Overeem. Rijkaard is under contract with the Saudi Arabia national team until 2013.
Guus Hiddink is currently manager of Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala. On the other hand Louis van Gaal and Co Adriaanse are available and out of contract.
In a poll conducted by Dutch football magazine Voetbal International, 26 per cent of fans would like Van Gaal to once again take charge of the national team. 18 per cent voted for Hiddink, whilst 14 per cent wanted Rijkaard. Surprisingly 12 per cent voted for Ruud Gullit, despite the legendary former player having had a disappointing managerial career so far.
The next Netherlands game is a friendly against neighbours Belgium on August 15.
A bright future? Candidates for Oranje
Louis van Gaal: Out of contract and available to take charge immediately following his dismissal by Bayern Munich a year ago. Coached national team before but spell is tainted by his failure to qualify for the 2002 World Cup. Won eight of 14 games in charge in first spell as Dutch coach.
Co Adriaanse: Out of contract after he was sacked as Twente manager and replaced by Steve McClaren. Committed to playing attractive football, guided unfashionable club Willem II to the Champions League. He is an experienced manager who could be ready to take his first international job.
Guus Hiddink: Unlikely to leave lucrative role at Anzhi Makhachkala. Took charge of Netherlands side that lost to England convincingly at Euro 1996 and experienced damaging internal conflict with players. Recovered to lead talented generation to semi-finals at World Cup in 1998 before losing to Brazil on penalties.
Frank Rijkaard: Another former Netherlands manager but has no interest in coaching Oranje again for the time being, according to his agent. Took over from Hiddink after World Cup in 1998 and led the Dutch to semi-finals of Euro 2000 playing an attractive brand of football before losing to Italy on penalties.
Ronald Koeman: Outstanding first season as Feyenoord manager has made KNVB take notice. Has unique record of managing Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord. Assistant to Netherlands manager Hiddink during 1998 World Cup. Has shown a willingness to give youth a chance and is tactically adept but has ruled himself out this time to continue Feyenoord project.
Frank de Boer: Van Marwijk’s assistant between 2008 and 2010. Too young to take national job but has shown remarkable ability already at Ajax. Has won two successive championship titles and implemented his football philosophy (inspired by idols Cruyff and Van Gaal) brilliantly. Is committed to attacking football. Will gain further experience in his second Champions League campaign as Ajax manager. Has ruled himself out for now but likely to be Netherlands coach in the future.
Gertjan Verbeek: Excellent spells at Heracles and Heerenveen led to big opportunity as Feyenoord manager. Problems with established players at Feyenoord led to his downfall which does not bode well for any potential Oranje role. Has ability to make players perform beyond their capabilities for him. Led AZ to top of the Eredivisie last season before being overtaken by traditional title challengers Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV.
Ruud Gullit: Has not found success as manager since spell at Chelsea. Recent failures include spells at Russian club Terek Grozny and MLS side LA Galaxy. Playing career and reputation as a player could lead to respect from current players, whilst experienced background staff could help Gullit. Has friends at KNVB and was recently chairman of the Holland/Belgium bid for the 2018 World Cup. Notably withdrew from Dutch squad in build-up to USA World Cup in 1994.
You can follow the writer on Twitter: @Majid_MohamedTagged in: Dutch, Eredivisie, euro 2012, european championships, football, Netherlands, Oranje
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