Soccer: Advocaat set to return as Netherlands coach

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Manchester United v Fenerbahce SK - UEFA Europa League Group Stage - Group A

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dick Advocaat is poised to return as Netherlands coach amid public disapproval of such an appointment and media criticism of the process of finding a replacement for Danny Blind, who was sacked last month after a run of poor results.

A new coach is expected to be named next week as the Dutch bid to revive their World Cup qualification hopes after a shocking run since finishing third at the 2014 finals in Brazil.

The country’s’ failure to reach last year’s European Championship in France has been exacerbated by the Dutch struggling in their 2018 World Cup qualifying group.

Blind went after a 2-0 loss in Bulgaria last month saw the Dutch drop to fourth, six points adrift of leaders France, three off Sweden and two behind the Bulgarians, at the halfway stage of their Group A campaign to reach the 2018 finals.

Advocaat, who turns 70 in September, is the latest choice of the Dutch FA, according to local media, after Louis van Gaal, Ronald Koeman, Frank de Boer, Henk ten Cate and German coach Roger Schmidt were reported to have turned the job down.

However, a poll in De Telegraaf at the weekend said 73 percent believed Advocaat did not deserve another chance after spending just three months last year as Blind’s assistant before leaving to take up a job with Turkish club Fenerbahce.

Ten Cate, now coaching in Abu Dhabi, ran into a media storm last week after initially accepting the post but then changing his mind, saying in a statement that he felt he did not have the full support of the Dutch FA.

The process of replacing Blind, which is being conducted by KNVB technical director Hans van Breukelen, has been dubbed a “soap opera” by several newspapers.

Advocaat has already had five different spells with the national team. He was assistant from 1984 to 1987 and again from 1990-92 under Rinus Michels, who he took over in 1992.

In 1994 the Dutch reached the World Cup quarter-finals in the U.S. before Advocaat left to take over at PSV Eindhoven.

The KNVB brought him back in 2002 but Marco van Basten replaced him as Dutch coach two years later.

Last May, having left English club Sunderland seven months earlier, Advocaat was asked to support Blind in an effort to add experience but quit after three months to a storm of criticism.

The new coach will have two friendlies at the end of the season before the Netherlands meet Luxembourg in their next World Cup qualifier on June 9.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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