Dutch welcome Van Gaal hiring
Louis Van Gaal (Getty Images)
Louis van Gaal's return to coach the Dutch national team was welcomed on Saturday by fans and experts in the Netherlands.
The 60-year-old coach was appointed late on Friday to succeed Bert van Marwijk, who resigned after the national's team's dismal performance at Euro 2012.
Van Gaal gets a second chance of coaching the Netherlands following an unsuccessful spell between 2000 and 2002 when he failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan.
Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) director Bert van Oostveen said he was delighted to have reached agreement with van Gaal.
"We were looking for a coach with a lot of experience and with personal and professional charisma. Van Gaal has left his mark nationally and internationally and we know him as a dedicated and very motivated coach," he said.
The former Ajax and Barcelona coach was without a job since April 2011 after being dismissed by Bayern Munich. His first game in charge will by a friendly against Belgium on August 15 before the 2014 World Cup qualification campaign begins against Turkey on September 7.
Dutch fans had made van Gaal their favourite to take over the national team which lost all three of their group matches at Euro 2012. Fanclub Oranje said the coach "enjoys the full confidence of the Oranje legion."
Congratulations came in from several former players including Ruud Gullit and brothers Frank and Ronald de Boer. Former striker Marco van Basten, now coach of Heerenveen, said he was "surprised" at the choice.
"In itself, I think van Gaal is a good choice. He is an experienced coach. I wonder how he will do," he was quoted as saying by the internet site nu.nl.
Dutch fans were, however, waiting a reaction from former playing great Johan Cruyff who has been at loggerheads with van Gaal and had given his backing to Frank Rijkaard for the job.
As a former Ajax supervisory board member, Cruyff had prevented the van Gaal being appointed as the club's director general earlier this year.