'More talented than 2010 World Cup finalists' - De Boer believes Netherlands are in position to shine

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Frank de Boer
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The boss was on the coaching staff in South Africa, but he feels the current squad is even better

Frank de Boer believes he has inherited a Netherlands squad that is even better than the one that reached the World Cup final a decade ago. 

The new Oranje coach, confirmed as Ronald Koeman's successor, was on Bert van Marwijk's coaching staff at the 2010 World Cup when Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder et al made the final, only to be beaten by Spain after extra time. 

The Netherlands missed out on qualification for the previous World Cup in 2018 - having also been absent from Euro 2016 - but De Boer is bullish about the future having signed a two-year contract that will take in next year's delayed European Championship and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

"This selection is perhaps even more talented than that of 2010," De Boer told reporters. 

"I do see similarities with that group. Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben were in top form, we had Rafael van der Vaart and also defensively it was good with the block - Mark van Bommel [and] Nigel de Jong. Very solid, and so does the current selection. There is a lot of potential, especially in terms of width." 

The Netherlands were at a low ebb when Koeman took over in February 2018 but he led them to the Nations League final and guided them to Euro 2020 - a competition that has been postponed until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Koeman will not be in charge for that having left to take over at Barcelona, though former Ajax, Inter, Crystal Palace and Atlanta United coach De Boer accepts he shares similarities with his predecessor. 

"When the rumours about a possible departure of Koeman to Barcelona came, I had a brief talk with my agent about the Dutch national team, just to see how I might feel about that," De Boer added. 

"I am not Ronald Koeman 2.0, but there are of course some similarities. I do want to follow the path of his method." 

De Boer made 112 appearances for his country and won four straight Eredivisie titles with Ajax at the start of his coaching career. 

However, he has failed to emulate that success in his stops with Inter, Palace and MLS side Atlanta, so his appointment as coach of the national team has raised eyebrows. 

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"It doesn't interest me whether I was the first, second or sixth choice for the Oranje, this job is very honourable and if I am asked to do this job, I like to do this job," De Boer said. 

"You always have supporters and opponents and you always hear the opponents loudest. But I think there is also a very large group of people who are very satisfied.  

"I hope that I will not betray the confidence of the KNVB [Royal Dutch Football Association] and the supporters."

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