Hiddink hints he will quit if Dutch lose to Latvia
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Netherlands coach Guus Hiddink hinted he would quit if his team loses its next European Championship qualifier, at home to Latvia.
Hiddink is under intense pressure to turn things around after a dismal start since taking over from Louis van Gaal, who led the Netherlands to third place at the World Cup in Brazil.
His team has lost to the Czech Republic and Iceland, and beaten Kazakhstan to be third in Group A after three matches. They also lost a friendly to Italy to start Hiddink’s second stint.
Hiddink said on Friday if the team loses to Latvia on Nov. 16, “then it’s logical” for him to step down.
The veteran coach, who has previously led the Netherlands and South Korea to World Cup semifinals, included in-form defenders Jetro Willems and Ricardo van Rhijn in his squad for a friendly against Mexico and the crucial clash with Latvia.
It was the first call-up of the year for wing backs Willems of PSV Eindhoven and Van Rhijn of Ajax as Hiddink tries to shore up a defense that has repeatedly conceded early goals, while also sticking to his attacking philosophy.
“Our execution has not been good in defense or attack,” he said.
Hiddink has a strong forward line of Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Memphis Depay fit for the matches, with Schalke striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar likely to start on the bench.
Van Persie’s Manchester United teammate, Daley Blind, can slot into either defense or the midfield.
The friendly against Mexico on Nov. 12 in Amsterdam is a rematch of the World Cup clash when two late goals, including an injury-time penalty by substitute Huntelaar, gave the Netherlands a 2-1 win and a spot in the quarterfinals.
Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen (Ajax), Tim Krul (Newcastle United), Kenneth Vermeer (Feyenoord).
Defenders: Bruno Martins Indi (Porto), Ricardo van Rhijn (Ajax), Joel Veltman (Ajax), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Stefan de Vrij (Lazio Roma), Gregory van der Wiel (Paris Saint-Germain), Jetro Willems (PSV Eindhoven).
Midfielders: Ibrahim Afellay (Olympiakos), Daley Blind (Manchester United), Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord), Nigel de Jong (AC Milan), Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV).
Forwards: Memphis Depay (PSV), Klaas Jan Huntelaar (Schalke), Luciano Narsingh (PSV), Robin van Persie (Manchester United), Quincy Promes (Spartak Moskou), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich).