Play-off game is pointless: Van Gaal

Dutch manager does not see need for a third-place playoff and regrets not being able to use Tim Krul in the semis.

    Contrasting emotions were on display at the end of the second semi-final [Reuters]
    Contrasting emotions were on display at the end of the second semi-final [Reuters]

    The Netherlands will face Brazil in Saturday's third-place play-off but it is not a match the Dutch want to play, with coach Louis van Gaal saying it was a pointless exercise that "has nothing to do with sports".

    The Netherlands lost to Argentina on penlaties and will face host nation Brazil, who were hammered 7-1 by Germany in the other semi on Tuesday.

    "I think this match should never be played and I've been saying this for 10 years," Van Gaal said. "It is unfair we have one day less to recover than our opponent so that is not fair play either.

    There is only one award that counts and that is becoming world champion

    Louis van Gaal, Netherlands coach

    "But the worst thing is I believe that chances are that you lose twice in a row. And a tournament in which you've played so marvelously well you would go home as a loser just because you could possibly have lost the last two matches and this has got nothing to do with sports in my view.

    "So, in a football tournament particularly not at the last stage you shouldn't have players playing match for third-fourth place. Because there is only one award that counts and that is becoming world champion."

    Krul substitution

    Van Gaal was also left to regret the fact he could not use his specialist penalty-saver Tim Krul in the semi-final shootout.

    Jasper Cillessen had never saved a penalty in his professional career and he failed to stop all four spot-kicks, sending Argentina into the final after Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder's efforts were saved.

    The Dutch beat Costa Rica on penalties in the quarter-finals after Van Gaal brought on substitute keeper Krul just for the shootout and he made two fine saves.

    But Van Gaal had used all three substitutions against Argentina, including taking off exhausted striker Robin van Persie in extra time, so Cillessen had to stay on the field after the match ended 0-0.

    "If I had had the opportunity to substitute Jasper I would have done that but I had already used three substitutes so I couldn't do that. I thought it was necessary to get Van Persie out because he was on his last legs," he added. "My feeling was that (Klaas-Jan) Huntelaar would make the goal."

    SOURCE: Reuters


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