Hiddink’s double Dutch clears way for Van Gaal to take on Tottenham
Former Chelsea caretaker coach Guus Hiddink is set for a second spell in charge of his native Netherlands after revealing in a radio interview that he is putting together a backroom team.
Current Clockwork Orange boss Louis van Gaal has already announced his intention to step down after the World Cup, and has been strongly linked with a return to club management at Premier League top-four hopefuls Tottenham.
Van Gaal steered the Dutch to the World Cup finals in Brazil, but comes up against reigning champions Spain, Chile (who impressed in a Wembley friendly win over England in November) and Australia in what looks a tough group.
Nonetheless, the Netherlands are 9/4 second-favourites to come through their pool as Group B winners and odds-on at 1/2 to qualify for the knockout phase in Brazil.
Spurs are 4/1 shots under managerial novice Tim Sherwood with Coral to secure Champions League football for next season as they trail Manchester City by seven points. There has been widespread speculation club chairman Daniel Levy will relieve Sherwood of his duties if he cannot bridge that gap.
“I am busy with [Dutch football federation] the KNVB putting together the whole team I want,” Hiddink, who previously steered his country to the semi-finals of and fourth place at the 1998 World Cup in France, said.
The KNVB is yet to confirm him as van Gaal’s successor, but Hiddink will be a hugely popular choice both at home and abroad. He last managed Anzhi Makhachkala, but left the Russian Premier League outfit shortly before a fire-sale of players when the club’s financial backers withdrew their investment.
During a glittering coaching career that began in 1982, 67-year-old Hiddink has also been in charge of PSV Eindhoven, Valencia and Real Madrid. He then took on national manager jobs with South Korea, Australia, Russia and Turkey.
When he has steered countries to tournament finals, Hiddink has the impressive record of always making the knockout stages. During his first stint as Netherlands national boss, he also reached the quarter-finals of Euro 1996 – hosted by England.
As manager of 2002 World Cup co-hosts South Korea, Hiddink again reach the final four. He got Australia to the second round in 2006 and guided Russia to the semis of Euro 2008.
Tottenham can close to four points behind the top-four with a home victory over Cardiff City, who are odds-on at 3/10 for relegation. Sherwood’s side start as 4/11 favourites for a win at White Hart Lane, so back them at 6/5 to win to nil.