Advocaat returns to Russia

Former Zenit boss signs four-year deal as Russia coach after short spell with Belgium.

    Advocaat tasted succes with Zenit St Petersburg in the Uefa Cup [AFP]

    Dutchman Dick Advocaat has returned to Russia to coach the national side after bemoaning the poor standard of play in his brief stint in charge of Belgium.

    Russian football president Sergei Fursenko said the former Zenit St Petersburg boss would be tasked with reaching the both the next European Championships and the following World Cup.

    He signed a four-year contract on Tuesday.

    Russia missed out on qualification to South Africa 2010 with a playoff defeat to Slovenia under Advocaat's compatriot Guus Hiddink.

    "I can only say that after such good work by Mr Hiddink with the Russian team, our task would only be to strive for very lofty goals such as qualifying for the finals of Euro 2012," Advocaat told the football association's executive board.

    Last month, the 62-year-old Advocaat resigned as Belgium coach after just six months in the job and Russian media reports suggest he will sign a long-term contract for a country where he enjoyed success at club level with Zenit.

    'Higher level'

    When he stepped down from the Belgium job, Advocaat was quoted in the Dutch media as saying: "Russian soccer is of a higher level than Belgian soccer. It matches the level I am used to working at."

    Fursenko was elected RFU chief in February and has known Advocaat since their days together in St Petersburg when as Zenit president, he hired the Dutchman to coach the side in 2006.

    In his first full season the following year, Advocaat steered the club to their first national title in nearly a quarter of a century, becoming the first foreign coach to achieve the feat.

    In 2008, he led the side to victory in the Uefa Cup – now the Europa League.

    Advocaat has had previous spells as a national coach with his native Netherlands, the UAE and South Korea as well as successful stints at club level with PSV Eindhoven and Glasgow Rangers.

    "(Advocaat's) task would be to lead our team to the finals of both Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup," Fursenko said on Monday.

    "He's a real workaholic. He knows all our players which is a big plus."

    SOURCE: Reuters


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