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Conte, Hiddink debut in Italy-Netherlands friendly

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 3, 2014 at 6:45 am •  Published: September 3, 2014
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BARI, Italy (AP) — Antonio Conte and Guus Hiddink will each be making coaching debuts when Italy hosts the Netherlands in a friendly Thursday with both sides missing several key players.

Conte replaced Cesare Prandelli after the Azzurri's first-round elimination from the World Cup while the well-traveled Hiddink is beginning his second stint in charge of the Dutch, building on the work of Louis van Gaal, who steered the Netherlands to third place in Brazil.

Conte caused a stir when he left out star striker Mario Balotelli from his squad, while the Dutch have a lengthy injury list, with Arjen Robben, Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Rafael van der Vaart, Jordy Clasie and Ron Vlaar out.

Conte led Juventus to the last three Serie A titles, while Hiddink first coached the Netherlands from 1994-98.