Louis van Gaal was named on Wednesday as the new manager of the Netherlands, signing a deal through to next year’s World Cup final in Qatar. It is the third time he will take charge of his national team, with his latest appointment coming four days before his 70th birthday.
“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,” he said. “Moreover, I consider it an honour.”
Van Gaal will start in September with three World Cup qualifying matches, replacing Frank de Boer, who left after the team were knocked out of the European Championship by the Czech Republic.
“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.”
Van Gaal was first appointed Netherlands coach in September 2000 but resigned just over a year later when they failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup. He returned in August 2012 and led the team to third place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
In the last seven years since, the Netherlands have had seven coaches – Guus Hiddink, Danny Blind, Fred Grim (acting), Dick Advocaat, Ronald Koeman, Dwight Lodeweges (acting) and De Boer – and failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
September’s qualifiers are away to Norway then at home to Montenegro and Turkey. In March, Turkey beat the Netherlands 4-2 in their opening Group G game although De Boer’s team bounced back to defeat Latvia and Gibraltar.
Van Gaal will have the former national team coach Danny Blind and Henk Fraser from Sparta Rotterdam as his assistants and Frans Hoek as his goalkeeper coach.