Fmr. Barca player Ronald Koeman to coach Dutch national team: report

Ronald Koeman will be signing a contract next week to coach the Dutch national football team up to and including the World Cup of 2022, the Telegraaf reports. The former Barca player reached an agreement with football association KNVB and will sign his contract next Friday. His performance will be evaluated before or after the European Championships in 2020, according to the newspaper.

Koeman confirmed last week that he is in talks with the KNVB. It is expected that he will start coaching Oranje in March already.

The Telegraaf also reports that Nico-Jan Hoogma will be the KNVB's new top sports director, and Aloys Wijnker will be appointed as head of football development. Hoogma is currently general director of Heracles Almelo. Wijnker is the former head of AZ's youth academy and is currently still working n the United States. 

Koeman has been out of work since late October, when he was fired from Everton, reports. Earlier in his career he worked at Southampton, Feyenoord, AZ, Valencia, PSV, Benfica, Ajax and Vitesse. 

The former Barca player's name was already mentioned to replace Louis van Gaal as Oranje coach after the 2014 World Cup. But then the KNVB decided to go with Guus Hiddink and his later successor Danny Blind. That resulted in a clash between Koeman and KNVB director Bert van Oostveen. Now that Van Oostveen left the KNVB, there are no obstacles for Koeman to be appointed national coach. 

The KNVB has been looking for a successor for Dick Advocaat for months. Advocaat took over from Danny Blind in May last year, and resigned in November after Oranje failed to get into the World Cup this year in Russia. In December Eric Gudde, the current director of paid football at the KNVB, said that he would take all the time he needs to search for a national coach and would probably not present him before February. 

Though the Dutch men’s national team missed out on this year’s World Cup in Russia, Oranje does have six scheduled matches in 2018. This includes a friendly against England on March 23 in Amsterdam, and three days later against Portugal in Geneva, Switzerland.

Following the World Cup, the Netherlands will take part in the inaugural season of the UEFA Nations League, a new tournament meant to add a little more excitement than a traditional slate of friendly matches. The Dutch are in Group 1 of the competition’s top-ranked League A, pitting them against Germany and France.

Oranje first plays away against France in the Nations League on September 9, then at home against Germany on October 13. They play the second legs against France and Germany on November 16 and 19, respectively. The group winner will then play the other group leaders for the league trophy in June and an extra chance at entering the next European Championship, while the group loser will be relegated to League B for the 2020 season.

Match locations for the Nations League have not been announced. Other League A teams include Belgium, Iceland, and Switzerland in Group 2, Italy, Poland, and Portugal in Group 3, and Croatia, England, and Spain in Group 4.