euro 2012 qualifying

Advocaat explains attraction of Russia job

April 16, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Dick Advocaat has revealed he is likely to quit as coach of Belgium as he believes Russia have a much better chance of qualifying for the 2012 European Championships.

Dick Advocaat
GettyImages / VirginieLefourDick Advocaat became Belgium coach in October 2009

• Belgium left stunned

Advocaat, who also manages AZ Alkmaar, released a statement on the Dutch club's website stating his reasons for walking out on Belgium after only four matches in charge.

Russia have been searching for a new coach since Guus Hiddink announced he would not be renewing his contract. Hiddink will take over as coach of Turkey in August.

It has not yet been formally announced that Advocaat will be the next boss of Russia, but it appears to be just a matter of time.

Advocaat revealed: "A number of weeks ago I was approached by the Russian Football Federation. I thought about it and decided to stop with Belgium and possibly to accept the offer from Russia.

"The main reason is sporting improvement. Russia are at a higher level than Belgium and the likelihood of a European Championship is greater. That is the level I am accustomed to working at. Also I know the players well, with six players from Zenit St Petersburg.

"If I made my choices based on money I would never have become coach of Belgium. I am not thinking about the financial aspect, that does not play a role.

"I understand the disappointment in Belgium. For the players I find it particularly painful. I have always enjoyed working with the group. But ultimately everyone makes his own decisions."

Advocaat, who will leave AZ, was boss at Zenit for three years, winning the UEFA Cup in 2008. He was supposed to take charge of Belgium after the World Cup but when they failed to qualify the start date of his two-year contract was brought forward to October 1 last year.

The former Holland coach won his first game in charge, a 2-0 victory over Turkey in their penultimate qualifier, but swiftly followed that up with a 2-0 defeat to Estonia. Advocaat also led the Belgians to friendly victories over Hungary and Qatar before losing to Croatia last month.