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Soccer-Dutch confirm Hiddink appointment, Blind follows in 2016

Reuters

* Hiddink to replace Louis van Gaal after World Cup

* Blind to succeed Hiddink after Euro 2016 (Adds quotes, details)

March 28 (Reuters) - The Netherlands named two new national coaches on Friday with Guus Hiddink's appointment after the World Cup confirmed following months of speculation and Danny Blind lined up to replace him after the Euro 2016 tournament.

Hiddink had been the front-runner for several months to take over from Louis van Gaal after the World Cup in Brazil and told reporters details of his two-year contract long before the Dutch football association's (KNVB) formal announcement on Friday.

However, the KNVB did surprise many by also naming Blind as Hiddink's successor after Euro 2016 in France, handing the former international defender an extra two-year contract till the 2018 World Cup.

Blind, who is an assistant coach at Ajax Amsterdam, and former striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, who recently joined the staff of PSV Eindhoven, will serve as Hiddink's assistants.

"With Guus Hiddink we have appointed a Dutch trainer with a treasure of international experience and success. Danny Blind will get two years to grow further under him," KNVB team director Bert van Oostveen said in a statement.

"By allowing Blind, after Euro 2016, to take over from Hiddink, we are keeping long term valuable knowledge and a line of succession."

It is the second spell in charge for the 67-year-old Hiddink, who took the country to the semi-finals of the 1998 World Cup in France. He will start his new tenure on Aug. 1, the KNVB added.

Hiddink will replace Van Gaal, who last year announced his intention to depart after the World Cup and is heavily fancied to take up a job in England next season.

"It is an honour to return as national coach and with Blind and Van Nistelrooy we have a strong team with good football knowledge and experience," Hiddink said.

"It is for me personally also a thrill to work with my own successor and in this way the football vision in the Netherlands can be guaranteed for the long term."

The 52-year-old Blind won 42 caps for the Netherlands and played for Ajax's Champions League winning team of 1985.

He was Ajax's coach for just over a year from 2005 to 2006 and later went back as an assistant. He has been working under Van Gaal with the Dutch national side since 2012. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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