Russia hires Advocaat national soccer coach

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia (AP) — The Russian soccer federation hired Dick Advocaat as new coach of the national team on Monday.

Advocaat's appointment was announced by federation head Sergei Fursenko.

Fursenko said that Advocaat will be on a four-year contract with the main task to qualify Russia for the finals of the European championships in 2012 and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

"He knows Russian soccer perfectly, knows all the players and there's nothing to be explained to him," Fursenko said.

Advocaat, who unexpectedly quit as Belgium coach last month, has previous experience in Russia — coaching Zenit St. Petersburg to a Russian league title and the UEFA Cup during a three-year stint before being fired last year.

He replaces fellow Dutchman Guus Hiddink, who guided Russia to the 2008 European championship but failed to qualify for this year's World Cup.

"Dick Advocaat is good because he is a hardworking man," Fursenko said. "I know it from my own experience."

Fursenko was president of Zenit in 2006 when he invited Advocaat to coach the club.

Fursenko said there were several more candidates for the job, but refused to name them.

He also refused to disclose financial details of the contract but said that "the amount of Advocaat's salary will be lower than Hiddink's."