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Unassuming Advocaat hopes to outdo Hiddink

Unlike his charming predecessor,who was adored by n fans and media alike,Advocaat has faced severe criticism throughout the qualifying campaign.

Written by Reuters | Moscow |
May 2, 2012 5:59:01 pm

Regardless of his team’s showing at Euro 2012,coach Dick Advocaat faces inevitable comparisons with his predecessor Guus Hiddink.

Advocaat succeeded his Dutch compatriot,who steered to the Euro 2008 semi-finals for their best showing in 20 years,following their failure to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

Unlike his charming predecessor,who was adored by n fans and media alike,Advocaat has faced severe criticism throughout the qualifying campaign.

Advocaat,dubbed the ‘Little General’ because of his small stature and authoritative manner,has repeatedly clashed with the media and soccer experts over his selection policy.

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Critics have also blamed him for failing to blood new players and reverting to overly defensive tactics.

Former forward Dmitry Bulykin accused Advocaat of turning the national team into his own private club after being overlooked despite notching 21 goals for ADO Den Haag to become the Dutch league’s second highest scorer last season.

Even Advocaat’s own players have had a go at him. Striker Roman Pavlyuchenko complained that the coach was having his favourites after being relegated to the bench early last year.

However,the 64-year-old coach has repeatedly stated that he cares little about his image,his only concern being results and he has certainly had his fair share of good and bad ones in a long coaching career.

He took his native Dutch side to the last eight of the 1994 World Cup and the semi-finals of Euro 2004 and later managed in South Korea,the United Arab Emirates and Belgium.

Asked about what sort of legacy he would want to leave soon after taking the Zenit St Petersburg job on his first spell in in 2006,Advocaat said: I want to win trophies. That would be the best legacy.

During his first coaching spell in ,he led Zenit to their first domestic league title in nearly a quarter of a century in 2007 then,the following year,guided them to victory in the UEFA Cup.

In his second term,Advocaat has again shown that he is the master of his trade,as comfortably sealed their place in the finals by topping their qualifying group.

However,his coaching career in will undoubtedly depend on his team’s showing in the tournament,co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.

True to his image,Advocaat has brushed aside any speculation about his future by telling reporters: I’m not going to discuss this with you guys.

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