Eindhoven, the Netherlands | Australia manager Guus Hiddink has been justly lauded for his role in reviving the Socceroos’ hopes. He forms the lead group of a phalanx of successful Dutch managers, four of whom will be making the trip to Germany in 2006, the most of any nation. Leo Beenhakker journeys with first-timers Trinidad & Tobago, Dick Advocaat with South Korea and Marco van Basten with the Netherlands.
“There are currently 90 Dutch managers working abroad,” writes Amy Lawrence of The Guardian (U.K.). She lists Frank Rijkaard of Barcelona among those following the legacy of “total football” innovator Rinus Michels.
The Netherlands may be a small country, but it has a production line of football missionaries spreading the word in all corners of the globe. By nature they are flexible, linguists, travellers, and have the necessary ego to tell people that their way is the right way.
Wigan Athletic’s Arjan de Zeeuw echoes the feeling that Dutch footballers are known for directness of speech. “I haven’t done the Ajax school or the Feyenoord school or anything,” says de Zeeuw, 35,
but I know their young players are taught to think about the game. They are encouraged, from a young age, to say what they think and have an input. Don’t just say we were s*** today, explain why we were s*** today.