Ronald Koeman returning as Oranje coach after Qatar World Cup
Ronald Koeman returns as the national coach of the Dutch national football team. The 59-year-old from Zaandam will succeed Louis van Gaal after the World Cup in Qatar and sign a contract with the KNVB until the World Cup in 2026.
Koeman previously coached Oranje from February 2018 to August 2020. Under the former defender's leadership, the Netherlands made it to the finals of a tournament for the first time since the 2014 World Cup - the European Championship in 2020. Due to the coronavirus, that tournament was postponed by a year. Koeman had already left by then. He switched to FC Barcelona in the summer of 2020. In his contract with the KNVB, the coach had a clause included that he could leave if Barcelona wanted him. Barcelona sacked Koeman in October last year due to disappointing results.
In his first period as national coach, Oranje played 20 matches led by Koeman. They won eleven, five ended in a draw, and they lost four. The Netherlands reached the final of the Nations League in 2019 but lost to Portugal 1-0.
"I'm looking forward to the new collaboration," said Koeman. "A little over a year and a half ago, I did not leave the Dutch national team out of dissatisfaction. My stay was good, the results were good, and the connection with the internationals was good. We will continue on that path. I am certain of it."
Van Gaal indicated two weeks ago, during the previous international match with Oranje, that he advised the KNVB to select Koeman as his successor. Van Gaal, the current national coach, called Koeman the most logical choice.
The KNVB already talked to Koeman at the beginning of this year, said Marianne van Leeuwen, the director of professional football. "I did not want to wait to hire Van Gaal's successor. The changing of the guard will come at an atypical moment; the end of the calendar year, a period in which top trainers have been under contract for a long time, and availability is limited. We, therefore, decided to contact Ronald, who was available, already in mid-January. Then we came to an agreement after a few conversations with each other. We are very happy that Ronald will return next year. During his previous 'term' as national coach, there was great satisfaction with his work and the results."
With Koeman's appointment, the KNVB has again opted for someone who was previously the Dutch men's national manager. After he left for FC Barcelona more than a year and a half ago, the football association selected Frank de Boer. Under the leadership of the former Ajax coach, the Oranje squad was kicked out of the European Champions last year in the round of 16 after losing 0-2 to the Czech Republic.
Louis van Gaal then took over for his third run as the national team's coach. The 70-year-old trainer was previously in charge from 2000 to 2002 and from 2012 to 2014. After the successful 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where the Dutch national team finished third, the KNVB chose Guus Hiddink. Originally from the Achterhoek region, Hiddink was also the national coach from 1994 to 1998. Hiddink left soon after in 2015.
Danny Blind was in charge of the Dutch national team from July 2015 to March 2017. During the summer of 2017, the KNVB appointed Dick Advocaat, hoping to make it to the 2018 World Cup. For Advocaat this meant his third term as national coach of Oranje. He previously held that position from 1992 to 1994 and from 2002 to 2004.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times