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Holland

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Louis van Gaal leads the Netherlands into battle at the 2014 World Cup in his last act as international manager before taking over at Manchester United.
 
The 62-year-old has been chosen by the Red Devils as the man they want to replace David Moyes, who was sacked less than 10 months after succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.
 
This will be the first time Van Gaal has been in charge of a side at the World Cup, for his last tenure with the Dutch national team ended with failure to qualify for Japan and South Korea in 2002.
 
It means working closely with Robin van Persie, the Oranje captain who will link up again with Van Gaal at club level after the World Cup.
 
The Holland have never won a World Cup, although they did capture the 1988 European Championship and were only beaten by an extra-time Andres Iniesta goal for Spain in the final four years ago in South Africa.
 
The three-time World Cup runners-up (also in 1974 and 1978) face a rematch of that 2010 final in their opening game in Brazil, which takes place on June 13 in Salvador.
 
It’s a tough World Cup Group B draw that the Dutch have received for they also find themselves up against Australia on June 18 in Porto Alegre and dark horses Chile on June 23 in Sao Paulo which could easily be a qualification decider.
 
In terms of the players at Van Gaal’s disposal, key men who were part of the run to the showdown in 2010 and again in the squad include goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, right-back Gregory van der Wiel and, of course, midfielder Wesley Sneijder and winger Arjen Robben as well as Van Persie.
 
Encouragingly for the manager, he also has a number of young players coming through as the Netherlands continues its long-established reputation for producing talent capable of going on to make a big impact at the highest level.
 
One thing they will have to avoid, however, is internal cliques and feuds which derailed chances in previous tournaments – and Euro 2012, for example, could not have gone any worse with a humiliating early exit comprising three defeats.

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