Ranking Louis can Gaal Amongst All-Time Dutch Bosses

Elko BornContributor IJuly 16, 2014

Ranking Louis can Gaal Amongst All-Time Dutch Bosses

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    Themba Hadebe/Associated Press

    Now that the World Cup in Brazil has finished, Louis van Gaal is about to take over as Manchester United's new manager.

    With Van Gaal set to start what could be the biggest job of his already illustrious career, it's time to assess the manager's legacy with the Dutch national team.

    How do Van Gaal's achievements with the Oranje weigh up against those who came before him? Is it fair to classify the new United manager as one of the greatest Dutch bosses ever?

    Here, we rank Van Gaal amongst the five greatest managers the Netherlands have had. 

5. Ernst Happel

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    Associated Press

    Ernst Happel was the Netherlands' manager in 1978, when the Oranje reached the final of the World Cup in Argentina.

    After the Netherlands' success in 1974, when the Dutch introduced "Total Football" to the world, Happel's success was remarkable. It was achieved without the help of Johan Cruyff, who had made himself unavailable for the national team. 

    In Vienna, the Ernst Happel Stadium is named after the Austrian legend, but the former Dutch boss is quite possibly even more famous in the Netherlands. 

4. Guus Hiddink

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    RICK RYCROFT/Associated Press

    Now that Louis van Gaal has left the Netherlands to become the new manager of Manchester United, Guus Hiddink will soon become the new Dutch boss.

    Hiddink has managed the Oranje before. His teams reached the quarter-finals at Euro 1996 and the semi-finals at the 1998 World Cup, where they narrowly lost in a penalty shootout to Brazil. 

    With players like Patrick Kluivert and Dennis Bergkamp, the Netherlands had a team rich in quality in 1998. In Hiddink, they had the perfect boss at the helm. 

    With fond memories of Bergkamp's 1998 wonder goal, followers of the Oranje will undoubtedly hope Hiddink can inspire his players to similar heights at Euro 2016. 

3. Bert van Marwijk

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    Kerstin Joensson/Associated Press

    The football played under Bert van Marwijk was not always beautiful. In fact, his Oranje would sometimes employ a slightly aggressive style of play. However, it's impossible to say that Van Marwijk's Netherlands team wasn't successful.

    In 2010, they reached the final of the World Cup, narrowly losing 1-0 to Spain after extra time. Van Marwijk's second tournament, Euro 2012, went horribly wrong for the Dutch, but his achievement would not be forgotten.

    Before 2010, Rinus Michels and Ernst Happel had been the only Dutch managers to reach the final of the World Cup. 

    Inches away from glory in 2010, Van Marwijk has earned a place in this ranking.

2. Louis van Gaal

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    Hassan Ammar/Associated Press

    Taking a team that wasn't expected to go very far and transforming them into one of the best in the world at the 2014 World Cup, Louis van Gaal can be credited as one of the best Dutch football managers of all time.

    Van Gaal, who was already the most successful Dutch club manager, made the impossible possible in Brazil. Showing how much impact a manager and his coaching style can have on the game, he guided the Oranje to third place.

    Van Gaal employed an unusual 5-3-2 formation, much to the disdain of parts of the Dutch public and media, who were used to an attacking 4-3-3 style of play.

    However, Van Gaal's critics have now been silenced. The new Manchester United boss is definitely and undeniably one of the greatest Dutch bosses of all time. 

1. Rinus Michels

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    LEO VOGELZANG/Associated Press

    It is sometimes said that the "Dutch school of football" can best be seen as a network with different representatives from different times in different positions. 

    Louis van Gaal learned his trade at Ajax. Later, he became Barcelona manager, and Bayern Munich boss after that. At all these clubs, Van Gaal's influence can be noticed to this day. 

    Similarly, Johan Cruyff came from Ajax, and he later managed Barcelona. There, Pep Guardiola played in his team.

    Guardiola, of course, would later become Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager. 

    At the top of the network, above Van Gaal and Cruyff, stands Rinus Michels—the greatest Dutch manager of all time. 

    Nicknamed "The General," Michels worked with Cruyff at Ajax and the Dutch national team in the 1970s.

    He is credited as the inventor of "Total Football"—an attacking style of football based on versatility and the exploitation of space.

    "Total Football" heavily influenced Cruyff and Van Gaal, and elements from Michels' philosophy can now be seen at some of the biggest clubs in the world. 

    As a manager, Michels won the European Cup with Ajax and the Spanish title with Barcelona. As Netherlands boss, he guided the Oranje to the final of the World Cup in 1974, and he won the European Championship in 1988.