The Hague: Dutch football and Louis van Gaal have reached an agreement which will see the return of “Iron Tulip” for a final stint as national coach, a press report said on Wednesday.
Van Gaal, 69, has agreed to lead the talented but inexperienced eleven Dutch to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, tabloid De Telegraaf reported.
The Royal Netherlands Football Association and Van Gaal “have just reached a deal which will see the new national coach leave for his third stint,” the newspaper said.
After years as a “temporary retiree in Portugal, he inevitably postponed his retirement again,” he said. The KNVB did not immediately confirm the report.
The no-frills manager’s appointment follows Frank de Boer’s resignation at the end of last month following the dismal elimination of the Netherlands in the Euro 2020 round of 16 by the Czech Republic.
Since then, the KNVB have been working to find a replacement ahead of the team’s next international game against Norway on September 1.
The Netherlands, led by De Boer, have already lost 4-2 to Turkey in a World Cup qualifier and another setback against Norway will make qualifying much more difficult, the newspaper said.
Van Gaal’s second stint with the national team in 2014 saw them take third place at the World Cup in Brazil. He went on to take up a coaching position with Manchester United, but was unceremoniously eliminated by the club two days after winning the FA Cup in 2016.
Van Gaal said at the time that winning the FA Cup with the Red Devils “was the greatest achievement of my career”.
The often brash and outspoken Van Gaal announced his “retirement” in January 2017. “The football federation and fans believe the coach who took the team to bronze in 2014 – especially after the disappointment of the l ‘Euro 2020 – can get the most out of the team,’ De Telegraaf said.