Manchester United's Robin van Persie to call Guus Hiddink's bluff in 'poker game'

Guus Hiddink

Guus Hiddink has vowed to resign if Holland lose to Latvia on Sunday, but Manchester United's Robin van Persie believes his coach is playing a 'poker game'.

Having inherited a side which came within a penalty shoot-out of reaching the World Cup final, Guus Hiddink would have been expected to guide Holland to the 2016 European Championship with a minimum of fuss.

There is, however, a very real threat that his second spell in charge of the Oranje could reach an embarrassing conclusion on Sunday after just 72 days.

Defeat to Latvia, which would be a third in four qualifying contests and a fifth in six post-World Cup outings, will see Hiddink fall on his sword.

The former Chelsea interim boss has vowed to walk if he fails to bring about a reversal in fortune, with the Dutch seeking inspiration in Amsterdam against a side ranked 94 places below them in the FIFA standings.

Is this all hot air, though, from a man who knows defeat on home soil is highly unlikely?

He is giving a disgruntled fan base what they want to hear – the promise that things will either improve or changes will be made.

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie believes his national coach is indulging in a spot of mind games, with their desire within the playing ranks to call his bluff and ensure that no P45s are posted this weekend.

He said, with Hiddink preparing to name an attack-minded side: “Against Latvia, it sounds like a good plan. We have to win that game.

“Anyway, we owe it to Hiddink. He is playing a poker game with his announcement that he is leaving with a defeat. We do not want to lose him.

“You can view his remark differently, however. You could say it is because he has a lot of confidence in us.”

Van Persie is expected to partner Schalke’s Klass-Jan Huntelaar up front, with Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben and PSV Eindhoven’s Memphis Depay offering support on the flanks.

Goals, and plenty of them, will be demanded against a side still searching for their first win on the road to France 2016.

Hiddink knows he cannot afford any more slip-ups and will be looking to the likes of Van Persie – a man with 48 international goals to his name – to provide inspiration.

Southampton supporters will also be hoping that a coach who helped Chelsea to FA Cup glory in 2009 can get things right, with speculation already suggesting that Ronald Koeman could be in line to replace Hiddink if the Dutch continue to underachieve.

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