© AP, Jul 06, 2012

Netherlands appoints Louis van Gaal as new coach

AMSTERDAM(AP) Louis van Gaal was appointed Netherlands coach on Friday to succeed Bert van Marwijk, who quit after the team's terrible performance at the European Championship.

It is the second spell as national coach for Van Gaal, who has had success leading Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich but failed to take the Netherlands to the 2002 World Cup the first time he was in charge of the team.

The Royal Dutch Football Association said the 60-year-old Van Gaal has signed a contract until the 2014 World Cup.

Van Gaal called the appointment ''the challenge I have been waiting for.''

Van Marwijk quit last month after the Netherlands lost all three of its matches at Euro 2012, just two years after the team lost 1-0 to Spain after extra time of the World Cup final in South Africa.

Van Gaal will now likely have to rebuild a team that was criticized in Poland and Ukraine for its leaky defense and misfiring attack.

Van Gaal made his name at Ajax, leading the team to the national title three years running from 1994-96 as well as winning the UEFA Cup in 1992 and Champions League in 1995 with one of the most talented teams the renowned club ever produced.

He moved to Barcelona in 1997, winning the national title twice before returning to the Netherlands in 2000 to lead the national team. The Netherlands lost only two of 14 matches under Van Gaal but failure to qualify for the World Cup in South Korea and Japan prompted him to quit.

He then worked at Ajax and Barcelona again before joining AZ Alkmaar and leading the Dutch team to the league title in 2009. That unexpected success earned him a move to Bayern Munich, leading the club to the domestic league and cup double in 2010 and reaching the final of the Champions League before being fired the next season following a disappointing run of results.

The Dutch FA also announced that one of the key players in Van Gaal's Champions League-winning Ajax team, Danny Blind, would be the new coach's assistant.

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