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Advocaat and Gullit to relight Netherlands fire

Dick Advocaat has returned for a third spell in charge of the Netherlands, with Ruud Gullit to work as his assistant, though Fred Grim will remain in temporary command.

Dick Advocaat remains in charge of Fenerbahçe
Dick Advocaat remains in charge of Fenerbahçe ©AFP/Getty Images

Dick Advocaat has returned for a third spell as Netherlands coach at the age of 69, succeeding Danny Blind, who was dismissed in late March in the wake of a 2-0 European Qualifiers defeat by Bulgaria. Former Dutch international Ruud Gullit, 54, will be Advocaat's assistant.

"We are sure this combination can relight the Dutch national-team fire again," said the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) interim director professional football Jean Paul Decossaux. Technical director Hans van Breukelen added: "I believe in complementary duos."

Fred Grim will remain in temporary charge of the first team, with Advocaat still under contract with Fenerbahçe, but the long-term plan is for Advocaat and Gullit to lead the team through the remainder of their FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, and to the finals in Russia if the Netherlands qualify.

At 69, Advocaat is now the oldest coach to have taken charge of the Oranje. In his first spell at the helm, he led the Netherlands to the 1994 World Cup quarter-finals in the United States, and he steered them to the last four at UEFA EURO 2004 in his second term. He had previously been the national-team's assistant coach from 1984-1987, 1990-1992 and was Blind's deputy until 12 May last year, when he left for Fenerbahçe.

Advocaat has won domestic titles as a coach with PSV Eindhoven (1996/97), Rangers (1998/99, 1999/2000) and Zenit (2007), with whom he also won the 2007/08 UEFA Cup and 2008 UEFA Super Cup.

A two-time UEFA Champions League winner with AC Milan, Gullit earned the last of his 66 caps under Advocaat during his first spell as national team boss, and has since coached Newcastle United, Feyenoord, LA Galaxy and Terek Grozny.