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The Dutch coach cites 'respect for Russia' as his motive for refusing.

Russia national team coach Guus Hiddink has reportedly turned down the opportunity to coach North Korea at next summer's World Cup in South Africa.

The Korean Football Association are understood to have approached Hiddink to coach them as they take part in a World Cup finals for the first time since 1966. They have been drawn in the group of death alongside Brazil, Ivory Coast and Portugal.

Dutch television programme Voetbal International have reported that Hiddink cited "respect for the Russian football federation" as his reason for refusing to coach North Korea. He failed to take Russia to the World Cup, losing a play-off to Slovenia on away goals last month.

Hiddink has a strong finals record having coached teams at each of the last three World Cup finals. He guided the Netherlands to fourth place in 1998, before taking joint hosts South Korea to a surprise fourth place finish in 2002. At the last World Cup in Germany, Hiddink's Australia side crashed out of the tournament in the second round after a contentious injury time penalty for eventual winners Italy.

Paul Madden,

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