Less than 12 months after taking over as manager of the Dutch national team for a second time (1994-1998), Guus Hiddink has been relieved of his duties as leader of the Oranje after the Dutch football federation decided to terminate the 68-year-old’s contract on Monday.
[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup ]
Led by Hiddink from day one of their 2016 European Championship qualifying campaign, the Dutch currently sit third in qualifying Group A — behind Iceland and the Czech Republic — with four games to play in order to qualify for next summer’s tournament in France (the top two teams from the group qualify automatically, while the third-place team has one last chance to qualify through a home-and-away playoff series).
Hiddink’s contract was originally set to run through EURO 2016, when he would then step aside and Danny Blind, assistant to Hiddink and father of Manchester United midfielder Daley Blind, would take over ahead of 2018 World Cup qualifying.
Hiddink, on his termination, from a Dutch FA release:
“It’s a shame that it went this way. It was an honor to coach the Netherlands team again and I wish my successor, the staff and the squad every success on their way to the European Championship in France.”
The news of Hiddink’s termination also comes just three weeks after the Netherlands’ shocking 4-3 defeat to the US national team, a game in which the Dutch held a 3-1 lead with 20 minutes to play, only to see their lead slip away and lose in Amsterdam.