Under-pressure Netherlands coach Guus Hiddink, whose side have struggled in qualifying for Euro 2016, has stepped down, the Dutch football federation (KNVB) announced on Monday. .
“Guus Hiddink and the KNVB decided on Monday to end the manager’s contract from July 1,” a federation statement confirmed.
“I regret this decision,” said KNVB director of football Bert van Oostveen.
“Unfortunately the rewards of Guus’s work weren’t immediately visible to everyone, we thank Guus for his commitment,” he added.
Hiddink, whose contract was due to run until after Euro 2016, described it as “an honour” to occupy the Dutch hotseat for a second time, the former PSV Eindhoven player and boss adding: “I find it a pity that it ended like this” and sending best wishes to his successor.
Earlier Monday anonymous federation sources claimed that Hiddink’s assistant Danny Blind will “directly” replace him, according to the daily De Telegraaf, public television station NOS and specialist magazine Voetbal International.
But the federation’s statement announcing Hiddink’s exit stressed: “We are still looking at who will take over the position”.
The Oranje finished third at last year’s World Cup under Louis van Gaal but with Hiddink at the helm their form in the qualifying campaign for next year’s European Championship in France has been poor.
With four matches remaining, Holland are third in qualifying Group A with 10 points, three points behind the Czech Republic and five adrift of surprise leaders Iceland.
Only the top two and the best third-placed side from the nine groups qualify automatically for Euro 2016, with the remaining third-placed finishers going into play-offs.
Hiddink, 68, has overseen four wins and five defeats in 10 games since returning for a second spell as Dutch coach last summer.