SportsVan Gaal: "Messi doesn't participate without possession, it's our chance"

Van Gaal: “Messi doesn’t participate without possession, it’s our chance”

The Netherlands coach, Louis van Gaal, in a match of the Qatar 2022 World Cup – Tom Weller/dpa

The Netherlands coach, Louis van Gaal, stated ahead of the World Cup quarterfinal match in Qatar, on Friday at 8:00 p.m. against Argentina, that they must know how to take advantage of the “opportunity” to leave Leo Messi unable to act and without having contact without the ball.

“Of course, Messi is his most dangerous and creative player. On the other hand, he doesn’t participate much in the game when the opponent has possession. That’s our chance,” he assured the NOS channel on Tuesday.

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The two teams last met in the 2014 World Cup semifinals, when Argentina won on penalties. “We have a pending account,” van Gaal said in this regard.

“I don’t like to look back. I thought we would win then, even when I made the changes,” he added. The coach, then, had replaced striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, so he could not count on his substitute goalkeeper for the shootout, and he had just stopped two shots in the quarterfinals against Costa Rica.

According to van Gaal, the fact that his team is now in the quarter-finals after some harsh criticism of their play does not take the pressure off him. “We want to be world champions. I said it from the beginning and my players have accepted that objective. Even if it is not the greatest opportunity, we want to take advantage of it,” he declared.

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