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Hiddink: I’m preparing to be new Netherlands coach

March 1, 2014

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Guus Hiddink says he is pulling together a team to assist him as the next Netherlands coach.

Louis van Gaal has already announced he will step down after the World Cup in Brazil, but the Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) has not yet confirmed Hiddink’s appointment.

The Dutch FA said Saturday it had no comment.

“I am busy with the KNVB putting together the whole team I want,” Hiddink said in a Friday night radio interview. “That’s going to take a few days or weeks.”

Van Gaal has rebuilt the Dutch team since its disastrous group stage exit at the 2012 European Championship and Hiddink said more improvements are possible.

“I think we can get much more out of them,” he said.

Hiddink coached the national team from 1995-98, leading a young and talented squad to the semifinals of the 1998 World Cup in France, where it lost on penalties to Brazil.

He also led South Korea to an unexpected semifinal berth in the 2002 World Cup and guided an unheralded Russia to the last four of the 2008 European Championship.

Hiddink has coached a string of club teams including PSV Eindhoven, Real Madrid and was briefly caretaker manager of Chelsea.

At age 67, he said he won’t be taking it easy in his second stint in charge of the Netherlands.

“I won’t be a freewheeling coach,” he said. “We are busy forming a great staff.”

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