Netherlands appoint Blind to replace Hiddink

AMSTERDAM: Danny Blind was named the new coach of the Netherlands on Wednesday, replacing Guus Hiddink who resigned this week after a run of poor results.

Blind, who enjoyed a hugely successful career as a defender at Ajax Amsterdam and also coached the club, had been assistant to Hiddink.

"I'm going to work hard with our staff and players to qualify for next year's European Championship," Blind said in a statement issued by the Royal Netherlands Football Association.

"That's my only goal."

He said he would elaborate on his plans for the team ahead of qualifying matches against Iceland and Turkey on Sept. 3 and Sept. 6.

The Netherlands are currently third in Group A with 10 points from six games, trailing the Czech Republic (13) and surprise leaders Iceland (15)

Blind, 53, is best known internationally for his years as a defender at Ajax during their second glorious period in the 1990s. He is one of a handful of players to have won all three European club competitions and also helped Ajax to five Dutch titles and four domestic cups.

As a coach, Blind won the KNVB cup with Ajax in 2006. He has been with the national team since 2012, serving as assistant to Louis van Gaal during the team's colourful run to a third place finish in the 2014 World Cup.

His contract runs through August 2018, after that year's World Cup finals in Russia.

Blind's son Daley, who plays for Manchester United, is a regular in the Dutch national team.