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Hiddink to coach Russia after World Cup - report

Written by: Staff

MOSCOW, March 1 (Reuters) Dutchman Guus Hiddink will be the next coach of Russia's national team, local media reported today.

Sport-Express newspaper, citing unnamed sources close to the Russian Football Union (RFU), said RFU chief Vitaly Mutko had told the players, who were preparing for today's friendly against world champions Brazil, about his decision to hire Hiddink.

The RFU declined to comment on the matter today.

The report said Hiddink would take over immediately after the World Cup finals in Germany, which end in July.

The 59-year-old is currently coaching Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven and will lead Australia at the World Cup.

Hiddink, who took the Netherlands (1998) and South Korea (2002) to the World Cup semi-finals, has long been seen as a front-runner to take over Russia's national side.

The Dutchman is also a favourite of Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, who is a close friend of Mutko.

Abramovich is financing an ambitious programme designed to improve Russian soccer.

Asked by Reuters at last month's international tournament in Israel about plans to hire Hiddink, Abramovich said: ''He is a very good coach. I like him very much.'' The Russians have been without a coach since November when Yuri Syomin quit after they failed to qualify for the World Cup.


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