Hiddink to quit if Dutch lose

2014-11-08 07:57
Guus Hiddink (AP)

Amsterdam - Netherlands coach Guus Hiddink will step down after four months in charge if they fail to win next week's Euro 2016 qualifier against Latvia, he said on Friday.

"If we lose to Latvia then I'll take the logical step. I haven't discussed it with the players but to me a draw too would not be acceptable," the 67-year-old told a news conference.

Hiddink's second spell in charge of the Dutch has quickly descended into a mini crisis after defeat by the Czech Republic and Iceland in Group A qualifiers in September and October left them with three points from three games.

The Netherlands play Mexico in a friendly on Wednesday and then host Latvia at the AmsterdamArena on Sunday.

But he was also bullish about their qualifying chances.

"Yes we will qualify," he said of the six-team group that also includes Kazakhstan and Turkey.

The nine group winners and nine runners-up plus the best third-placed team will qualify directly for the finals in France. The eight remaining third-placed teams will contest playoffs to determine the last four qualifiers.

Hiddink has been under fire since the Dutch lost 2-0 to Iceland last month with extensive behind the scenes talks to try and get to the bottom of a dramatic dip in form just months after they came third at the World Cup in Brazil.

"But it was not as if I was brought up on the carpet," said Hiddink of an 'evaluation' of his work by the Dutch FA (KNVB) after the defeat in Reykjavik.

"We did an evaluation but I didn't get the impression I needed to get down on my knees. That's not how it went down. It was said we needed to do a sharp evaluation and I had no problem with that."

On the eve of his 68th birthday, Hiddink also addressed concerns from reporters that he might no longer be able to forge the special bonds with players which have been the hallmark of his coaching success in the past.

"I still have a lot of enthusiasm to talk to the youngsters," he said. "I feel their energy. Ask the players if I can still get through to them?

"If I had the feeling that they didn't want me then I would stop. But I don't get that feeling from this team."

Hiddink said the negative reaction to recent results was disproportionate.

"I don't like the drama that is now swirling around the team," he said. "There is an over reaction. But I have to accept it. The criticism is a lot harsher these days compared to when I first coached the team. But the media are competing much more with each other."

Hiddink, whose previous clubs include Real Madrid and Chelsea, was in charge of the Netherlands side that reached the 1998 World Cup semi-finals in France.

Read more on:    netherlands  |  euro 2016  |  guus hiddink  |  soccer

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