Facing jeers, Advocaat takes team to quarters

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:04 IST

Dick Advocaat has taken Oranje from the brink of elimination into the quarterfinals of Euro 2004.

Facing jeers, Advocaat takes team to quarters

Braga:

Just ahead of the game against Latvia, his name was whistled and jeered by Dutch fans. Two hours later, Dick Advocaat had taken Oranje from the brink of elimination into the quarterfinals of Euro 2004. With a 3-0 win over Latvia yesterday combined with Germany's 2-1 loss to the Czech Republic, the Netherlands went through to face Sweden in Saturday's quarterfinals. Now it seems Advocaat is finally ahead of critics who have hounded him for months. "It went too far," a bitter Advocaat said of the criticism. "Some of the rules I grew up with were broken and I have a problem with that." The verbal attacks on Advocaat were relentless, especially after a key substitution Saturday in the second half against the Czech Republic helped turn a 2-1 victory in a stunning 3-2 loss. Even Advocaat acknowledged it was not a good move. People were calling for his head, some even insisting he should resign ahead of yesterday's game. At this stage, Advocaat went into a defensive shell, kept out of sight and centered on preparing his team for the crucial game against Latvia. "The most important thing was to keep the team and squad together. That worked very well and it was more important than the critics." The players responded in kind with two goals from Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy and an insurance goal from Bayern Munich's Roy Makaay. Advocaat got the deciding victory relying on one striker and two wingers, the traditional Dutch tactics he had once dared to change. Those attempts were ridiculed in the media, and home losses to Belgium and Ireland in the runup to the tournament brought the fans to despair. Criticism did not let up after a 1-1 draw with a mediocre German team a week ago in the opening game of the tournament for both. The Netherlands is famous for being a nation with 16 million national coaches, and even after qualification, the questions kept coming up - why field veteran Clarence Seedorf instead of talented Wesley Sneyder? "You cannot field them both and at this moment, I chose Seedorf," Advocaat said. This is Advocaat's second stint in charge of the Dutch. He coached the Dutch in the 1994 World Cup, where they were stranded in the quarterfinals against Brazil. He then moved back to club football, taking the Scottish title twice with Glasgow Rangers. One of Advocaat's darker hours was a 1-0 loss to Scotland in first Euro 2004 playoff in November. He survived that when his team beat the Scots 6-0 in the return. (AP)



Topics : Football
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