The Dutch were beaten 2-0 by Bulgaria in their World Cup qualifier, leaving their qualification hopes hanging by a thread, writes Sam May.
Saturday’s 2-0 defeat in Sofia was Netherland’s second in their opening five games in World Cup qualifying Group A and left them in fourth place in the pool, already six points behind leaders France and three behind second-placed Sweden. This, after the Dutch failed to qualify for last summer’s Euro finals too.
The Dutch Football Association (KNVB) has called time on the former defender’s reign after only 20 months and 18 matches. Fred Grim will take temporary charge whilst the search for a new manager continues.
But who could replace Blind?
Louis Van Gaal
The 65-year-old could take up the reigns a second time and is the most likely candidate for the job. Former Manchester United Van Gaal, who suffered a tough time at Old Trafford, led the Netherlands to the World Cup semi-finals in 2014. Having denied retirement earlier this year, he would be the perfect fit. Taking the role could mean the Dutchman would end his career on a high. He was also highly respected amongst the Dutch camp when previously managing the side.
Frank De Boer
De Boer, 46, would be another candidate who should be considered. Having led Ajax to four straight Eredivise titles, he has more than what it takes to become head coach of the national team. His spell with Inter Milan was certainly one to forget, but the qualities and tactical awareness of De Boer would greatly benefit the KVB. He is the most capped outfield player in the history of the Netherlands national football team, with 112 caps, and captained the Oranje to the semi-finals of both the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2000.
He is an outside candidate at present but should not be discounted. Everton boss Koeman was expected to take the role following Louis Van Gaal’s departure in 2014. The former Feyenoord and Southampton manager did claim he wanted the position, only for the KVB to appointed Guus Hiddink instead. The 54-year-old has also been linked with the Barcelona job to replace Luis Enrique. Ronald Koeman is one of five European players to ever win a treble with their club and a cup with their national team in the same year. The other four players are his teammates Hans van Breukelen, Berry van Aerle, Gerald Vanenburg and Wim Kieft. He’d be the perfect option, but he may wait to see if Barcelona come calling.
Klinsmann was a huge success for the Germany national team, spending five years there, before leaving for Bayern Munich and then the United States. He would offer the stability the Dutch need, and would bring a style of attacking relentless football – something that is lacking at the moment. The 52-year-old, won the World Cup as a player with Germany in 1990, but would he be accepted by the Dutch?
The other candidates…
Ron Jans – He who has confirmed his departure with PEC Zwolle at the end of the season and could be a surprise option.
Jaap Stam – Current manager of Reading who learnt his tactics at Jong Ajax. Could he be the man to rejuvenate the Oranje?
Martin Jol – The experienced 61-year-old previously managed Ajax, Tottenham, Hamburg and Fulham, and would be seen as an interim replacement, rather than a long-term successor.
Whoever lands the role will certainly have a thankless job. The Dutch need instant turnaround in attitude and drive. The KNVB may have to appoint on the basis that World Cup qualification is unlikely, so plan for more longer term.