Louis van Gaal has ended his stint as Netherlands’ coach and stepped down after their defeat to Argentina due to a penalty shootout in the quarterfinals of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Now it is Ronald Koeman who has been appointed as the Netherlands coach following van Gaal’s departure.
The 59-year-old Koeman was hired back in April to take over the lead for the World Cup. Koeman has an excellent record of leading teams like Ajax, Southampton, Barcelona, Valencia, etc.
Dutch coaches have a record of returning for their national duties of coaching the national team. For the last half-century, coaches Rinus Michels has served four terms, Dick Advocaat three, and Leo Beenhakker, along with Guus Hiddink, have served two terms each.
After Netherlands’ defeat to Argentina earlier, the Dutch media and their fans have been quite harsh about the team. They have been vigorously criticizing the van Gaal team for their lack of beauty compared to their previous eras.
“Football is evolving, and it is much more difficult than it was 20 years ago to play as offensively as Ajax used to play,” van Gaal said through his translator.
“And if you fail to see that or fail to understand, then it’s very difficult to understand that this is the way things go. And when in 2014 I started developing the more defensive system, people criticized me. But now half the world is playing that kind of football.”
The Dutch end has the record of losing the most FIFA World Cup finals for any nation in history, in 1974, 1978, and 2010. They were also eliminated by same Argentina on similar penalties in 2014 and this year. They failed to qualify in 2018.
There were several young midfielders like Xavi Simons (19) and Jenneth Taylor (20), defenders Frimpong (22) and Tyrell Malacia (23), who were among the next-generation players who didn’t get much playing time in this World Cup. Though we might see them more in the future.
“What I’m leaving behind is an excellent group,” Van Gaal had said earlier. “This is a team which was very close, is very close, team spirit, and a lot of football skill.”
The Netherlands is also opening the European Championship qualifying at France in March and is hosting Gibraltar three days later, being part of a group with Greece and Ireland. They play Spain, Italy, or Croatia in the Nations League semifinals in June, and four days later play the championship or third-place game.