Advocaat appointed Belgium coach

BRUSSELS - Zenit St Petersburg coach Dick Advocaat was appointed Belgium manager on Wednesday and will take up the post at the start of next year, the Belgian Football Association said. "The contracts were exchanged today and he will take up the role on January 1," the Belgian FA said in a statement.

Advocaat's contract with Russian club Zenit expires in December. He will be given an initial two-year contract by the Belgian FA with the possibility of at least another 18 months should Belgium qualify for Euro 2012.

Belgian media have reported that the 61-year-old Dutchman was keen on a move to Belgium to be nearer family and friends and that he would earn 600,000 euro  a year.

Belgium have only slim hopes of making it to the 2010 World Cup, standing fourth in European Group Five, 11 points behind leaders Spain with four games left. The 2002 World Cup was the last time they qualified for a major championship.

Advocaat, nicknamed the "Little General", led Zenit to the UEFA Cup and European Super Cup double last year. He has previously coached the Netherlands, South Korea and United Arab Emirates.

He was also in charge of PSV Eindhoven, winning the Dutch league and Cup, and Rangers where he won two Scottish Premier League titles.