Netherlands has confirmed the appointment of former Manchester United and FC Barcelona boss Louis Van Gaal as manager of their men’s national team for a third spell, with the 69-year-old joining on an initial 18-month contract after the latest failure of the national team at the just-concluded Euro 2020 championship.
Van Gaal has been in charge of the Dutch national team twice in the past, first from 2000-2002, and then from 2012-2014. He retired from management in 2019, having previously been on a sabbatical from the end of the 2015/2016 season with Manchester United, winning the FA Cup in his final season as a manager. Van Gaal has been in charge of 901 matches as manager, winning 20 trophies. He led the Netherlands to a third-place finish in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, defeating the hosts 3-0 in the third-place playoff. Van Gaal has had spells in the past with FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich, both European superpowers.
In Van Gaal, the KNVB have appointed a manager with the best interests of Dutch football at heart, as he related in an interview that he wished for Dutch football to get better and the best way he knew was to be close to the action as manager again. He replaces Frank De Boer, who did a very underwhelming job since taking over from current Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman. De Boer’s winless start to his career as Netherlands manager saw him become the first manager in their history to fail to win any of his opening four games, before a 2-0 defeat to Czech Republic in the Round of 16 at Euro 2020 sealed his fate, and he announced that he had stepped down shortly after the tournament.
Van Gaal becomes only the fourth manager to have 3+ spells in charge of the Dutch national team after Dick Advocaat, Rinus Michels and Karel Kaufman. The immediate task at hand would be to ensure that the Netherlands qualifies for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, having missed out on the 2018 edition.