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Blind sacked as Netherlands coach, Koeman favorite to take his place

Danny Blind is no longer head coach of the Netherlands national team, following the 2-0 defeat against Bulgaria. The loss sees the team move further away from a place in next year’s World Cup. 

The loss at the weekend, against Bulgaria, was the final straw for the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB). They have announced plans to replace coach Danny Blind. The former international had himself replaced Guus Hiddink following his unsuccessful Euro 2016 bid.

Danny Blind opted to take full responsibility for the result. Netherlands looked uninspired and could not take advantage of the few goal chances they had. Blind also seemed apologetic for the decision to give 17-year-old  Matthijs de Ligt his debut in such an important game. The Central defender seemed to lack confidence and did not enjoy his best game.

Blind’s Holland lost 5 game qualifiers out of the 9 they were involved in. It’s not a good statistic, with the previous four managers losing these many times in a combined 58 games.

Blind commented on the decision. “We were on a good roll. I think the game against Bulgaria was decisive. I gave everything I had. It’s too bad that it stops with this now.”

Fred Grim, the Under-21 Netherlands coach, will take interim. The team will play Italy in a friendly on Tuesday. Everton manager Ronald Koeman looks to be the favorite to succeed Blind. Everton are in seventh place in the Premier League. The team’s performances have largely been beyond expectations. Koeman is linked by the press to a number of high profile jobs, including that of Barcelona manager for the next season.

KNVB’s professional football director Jean Paul Decossaux commented on the rumors. He told De Telegraaf that in his opinion Koeman would be perfectly capable of taking on the task of managing the team.

“When the probability of us making this important qualification to the World Cup is reduced to a very small percentage, then you need to intervene at some point. In football, you do it this way.”

“We hope to come to an agreement with a new coach, but it will not be done in a week. Ahead of the games in June seems to be reasonable. A foreign coach is an option and our list should include all kinds of names. Dutch football can move forward from here. Ronald Koeman is undoubtedly capable, but I know he is under contract with a club.”

Former Dutch internationals Frank de Boer and Phillip Cocu are other rumored nominees for the Netherlands hot seat. The new manager will need to quickly address the team’s issues. Another failure to qualify for a major tournament will likely be seen as a disaster by Dutch fans. The team is currently sitting in fourth place in their group, six points behind leaders France.

Former Dutch internationals Frank de Boer and Phillip Cocu are other rumored nominees for the Netherlands hot seat.

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