Saturday, June 21, 2008

Van Basten vs Gus Hiddink

Tonight Russia and Netherlands go head to head in their quarter final clash.It is more the clash of the managers than of the players.

Dutch have been the most promising and "eye candied" team so far in the tournament with 3 wins out of 3 in their group of "death".On the other hand Russia weren't that good enough in their first encounter but have looked solid thereafter especially in the game against Sweden which was must win to progress to the quarter finals.

Let's start with the Dutch coach Marco Van Basten.
Born in Utrecht and started playing at the age of seven.
He has played for dutch club Ajax and AC Milan in Italy.Regarded as one of the best forwards of his time with 277 goals in his career which was cut short by injuries.Awarded the European player of the year in 1988,1989 and 1992 and FIFA Player of the year in 1992.Voted 8th by a French magazine as the Player of the century.Scored 37 goals in 26 matches in 1985-86 in the dutch league winning him the European golden boot in that year.
In the Euro 88 he scored 5 goals with a hat-trick against England,winning goal against West Germany in the semi finals and a spectacular volley against the Soviet Union in finals which won Netherlands the Euro 1988.
In Euro 92,Dutch team reached the semi finals only to lose out to the Danes where Van Basten's penalty was saved by Peter Schmeichel.
He won 3 European titles when with Milan an accolade he shares with Cryuff and Platini.
His career was then plagued by knee injuries which kept him out of action for a long period of time as he announced retirement from playing career in 1995 and he played his last game as a Milan player against Marseille in the Champions league which they ultimately lost.

He had however said he won't take up any management job but he went U-turn on his word and become assistant manager at Ajax's second team in 2003-04.In June 2004 he was named as the Dutch national teams' manager.He showed how the youngsters were the ray of hope as he dropped Seedorf,Kluivert,Davids and Makay amd dropped Van Bommel from the team.
Under him the dutch didn't lose a game in the world cup qualification and lost out in the last 16 to Portugal.He was strongly criticized for not picking Van Nistelrooy and instead opting for Dirk Kuyt who didn't score a goal throughout the tournament.He ended his dispute with Van Nistelrooy in May 2007 as he was included in the dutch squad.He is to take up the manager job at Ajax after this Euro 2008.

Now to the other great manager,Gus Hiddink who is claimed to be the biggest tactician the game has ever seen.

Hiddink doesn't really have a great playing career to boast of as he played for the dutch club De Graafschap and a one year stint at PSV Eindhoven but failing to win a permanent position he returned to De Graafschap.He then played for North American Soccer League(MLS now) teams such as Washington Diplomats and San Jose Earthquakes.He rejoined De Graafschap in 1981 and retired a year later as a midfielder.

Started his managerial career at the team he still supports and had played for,De Graafschap.He then was the assistant manager at PSV Eindhoven before being appointed as manager in 1987 and won the European Cup(now Champions League) and affirmed the club as one of the "big three" in Holland after Ajax and Feyenoord.He then won three consecutive dutch titles from 1987 till 1990.
He then managed Turkish side Fenerbahce for a year before moving to Spain and having impressed the Spanish league with his attacking style of play.
His biggest challenge seemed to be managing the Dutch nation side in 1995 which was plagued by continual arguments and internal disruptions.He famously sent home Edgar Davids after an argument.The dutch were the most fluent team in the 1998 world cup but lost out on the cruelest form of decision making,penalties to Brazil in the semi finals.
He then was the manager of Real Madrid but was sacked following a league slump and took over the reigns of Real Betis in 2000.
His next appointment is the biggest inspirational decision ever when he agreed to take over the command of the South Korean national team.Although history was against his decision as South Korea had been part of 5 previous world cups and had failed to win even a single match.In the 2002 world cup which was co-hosted by South Korea and Japan they reached the semi finals only to be stopped by Germany who later lost to Brazil in the final.In the lead up they defeated teams such as Poland,Portugal,Italy after a 2-1 extra time victory,Spain on penalties.
He took over at PSV and took them to the semi finals of the Champions league in 2003-04.He also won the dutch title in 2005 and lost in finals of the dutch cup to Ajax in 1996.
He took over the managerial position for the Australian National team("Socceroos") and still remained the manager of PSV which was allowed under his contract.He took Australia to World cup in 32 years when they qualified for the 2006 world cup on penalties against Uruguay.
In the 2002 world cup,Australia beat Japan 3-1 to win their first world cup game ever and score goals too.They then lost to Brazil and managed a draw with Croatia which was marred by controversy following the three yellow card to same player incident.They then lost 1-0 to Italy in another controversial match where Italy scored from a penalty.This saw Australia's exit from the world cup and end of his tenure as Australia's manager.
He then took over for Russia and had a difficult time as they qualified for Euro 2008 only after Croatia defeated England and Russia beating Andorra was the qualification achieved.
He had recently been linked to the Chelsea managerial post which was later filled by Scolari.
He has a 58% win record with all the national teams he has managed so far with 54 wins in 93 games.

Both managers make for great coaches and play attractive football.Let's see who triumphs tonight!

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