Veteran former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal was appointed Friday as the Dutch national squad's new coach following Bert van Marwijk's resignation last week after a woeful UEFA EURO 2012 campaign.
"The Dutch Royal Football Federation (KNVB) this evening reached an agreement with Louis van Gaal over his appointment as the coach of the Dutch national eleven," the KNVB said in a statement. "Van Gaal has signed a contract that will link him from August 1 this year until the end of the World Cup in 2014," the statement added.
His appointment marks an end to speculation following van Marwijk's resignation on 27 June after the Dutch bowed out at the first round of EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine - one of their worst results in decades.
Van Gaal, 60, brings with him a wealth of experience as a former player as well as a coach with Ajax, winning the national championships three times in 1994, 1995 and 1996, the KNVB said.
He took over as national coach from Dutch football legend Frank Rijkaard in 2000, taking the Oranje to 12 wins in 14 games. He resigned in 2001 when the Netherlands failed to qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ in Korea and Japan.
Van Gaal's coaching experience also include leading German football giants Bayern Munich, taking them to the UEFA Champions League in 2009. He left the club last year.
"We were looking for a trainer with a wealth of experience, with personal and technical expertise," said KNVB director Bert van Oostveen. "Van Gaal earned his spurs not only nationally, but internationally as well and we know him as a dedicated and highly driven coach," Oostveen said.
In his first official reaction van Gaal voiced his joy about being approached by the KNVB, saying in the same statement: "It's the challenge I have been waiting for."