Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Van Gaal wants to settle an outstanding account with Messi and Argentina

DOHA ( Associated Press) – Louis van Gaal claimed star Lionel Messi didn’t touch the ball the last time he faced him with the Netherlands.

Will his strategy work again on Friday like in Brazil 2014?

Argentina and the Netherlands will meet in the World Cup quarter-finals at Doha’s Lusail Stadium, in a repeat of the semi-final duel that the South Americans won on penalties eight years ago.

True, Messi was no different that day, but he scored a penalty that put Argentina through to the final.

The current Messi is older, but also wiser. In Qatar, his fifth and probably last World Cup, the 35-year-old captain was instrumental in Argentina’s all-win win with three goals and one assist. He has his eyes on the missing trophy and is not ready to let it go.

“Obviously, Messi is their most dangerous and creative player,” admitted Van Gaal, who at 71 is the oldest World Cup coach. “On the other hand, when the opponent is in possession, he does not participate much in the game. We have our opportunity”, he highlighted, implying that Argentina is not cooperating with the recovery.

Obsessed about strategy and field work, Van Gaal is a Netherlands custodian who has gone 19 games unbeaten, with Frankie de Jong as game organiser; Winger Denzel Dumfries as an offensive weapon on the right wing and two scorers who should not be neglected, Memphis Depay and Cody Gapko.

Having recovered from prostate cancer, Van Gaal wants to end the curse in the Middle East with the Orange: three world runners-up in 1974, 1978 and 2010.

In Argentina – world champion in 1978 and 1986 – his colleague Lionel Scaloni, a few years younger but more studious of strategy and tactics, also went on an undefeated run before the World Cup and after the defeat the team was shipwrecked. Rescued. Against Saudi Arabia on debut.

Scaloni said, “I am proud to face Louis Van Gaal.” “Many people have followed in his wake. He has shown the way… It’s going to be a great match between two historic teams.”

Argentina’s coach is evaluating a change of wings and planning in relation to the team, which beat Australia 2-1 in the round of 16. But in the last few hours an unexpected incident happened with midfielder Rodrigo de Paul, the footballer with the most games in his cycle. He has a hamstring problem and is doubtful to play on Friday.

Leandro Paredes will replace him.

At the same time, the coach has available winger Ángel Di María, who has recovered from a concussion and who could be key to the tactical duel on the wings against the Netherlands.

The winner of this crossing will await the duel between Brazil and Croatia on the same day.

Nation World News Desk
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