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Coach Hiddink Suffers Yet Another Semifinal Jinx

Posted May. 08, 2009 08:18,   


Guus Hiddink is called a coach who can work miracles, but has had trouble advancing past the semifinals of a tournament.

His outstanding performance is well known across the world. He has often taken over a struggling squad and led it to a semifinal.

In the 1987-88 season, Hiddink led PSV Eindhoven of the Netherlands to its first European Cup, the predecessor of the Champions League. Since then, he has won six league and four cup titles in his homeland.

He has yet to add another title since then, however. As coach of the Dutch national team in the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Hiddink saw his team lose to Brazil in the semifinal in a penalty shootout.

In the 2002 World Cup, he brought Korea to the semifinal, where it lost to Germany 1-0. After returning to PSV, he led the Dutch team to the Champions League semifinal again in 2005, but lost to AC Milan. Last year, he led Russia to the final four of Euro 2008 but the team was crushed by Spain 3-0.

Hiddink’s jinx in the semis continued yesterday. Chelsea was leading 1-0 on aggregate at home but FC Barcelona of Spain scored a late goal to advance to the Champions League final due to the away goal rule.

After the game, he said, “I’m unhappy with our failure to grab several chances to score goals and referee’s penalty decisions.”

On the other hand, Barcelona’s first-year coach Josep Guardiola is a hero in his hometown. He had been a ball boy for the team but debuted as a player at age 19. He eventually played 11 seasons for Barca.

Guardiola is on the verge of leading Barca this season to a treble – the Primera Liga, Spanish Cup and Champions League titles.

Barcelona will play United May 28 in Rome for the title of European club champion. The Spanish team has all but secured the domestic league title, leading second-place Real Madrid by seven points.