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Hiddink begins 2nd stint as coach for Netherlands' next Cup hopefuls

AMSTERDAM--Guus Hiddink began his second stint as Netherlands coach by promising to put together a team that will play attractive but practical soccer.

Hiddink took over from Louis van Gaal after the World Cup, a transition that had been agreed upon in March. Van Gaal accepted the manager job at Manchester United before leading the Netherlands on a flashy run to third at the World Cup in Brazil.

Hiddink said he wants to combine the “Dutch school” of attacking and possession-based play with “the instinct to survive” — meaning to play defensively and wait for counterattacks when necessary.

He praised Van Gaal for mixing the two styles successfully at the World Cup, and hinted that he would attempt to do the same.

“I applaud the whole team, which performed excellently,” he said. “It was a very realistic approach there (in Brazil).”

He declined to give specifics of his likely team selections, noting that Van Gaal had brought in a crop of talented youngsters to mix with veteran stars such as Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben.

“That policy will be continued,” he said. “I'm not going to get further into names.”

The Netherlands begins its campaign to qualify for the 2016 European championship Sept. 9 in Czech Republic.

Hiddink is the most successful coach ever within the Netherlands, winning six league and four cup titles with PSV Eindhoven. He coached the Netherlands from 1995-98, reaching the semifinals at World Cup in France.

He has coached Real Madrid and Chelsea, and led South Korea and Australia to best-ever performances in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.

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