Dour Oranje coach Louis van Gaal erupted in cheers after narrow victory over Latvia
Louis van Gaal is often critical. After a narrow victory over Latvia (0-1), the national coach of the Dutch national team looked especially satisfied. “I cheered in the dressing room with my players. You just have to win these kinds of matches that’s what it’s about,” Van Gaal said who saw competitors Turkey and Norway draw (1-1) and took an important step together with Oranje towards participation in the WC next year in Qatar.
Around 1.7 million people streamed the WC qualification match from Team Oranje against Latvia, numbers from the KijkOnderzoek Foundation showed.
Where many assumed a somewhat larger victory, Van Gaal said that he had already taken into account the difficult course of the match development in Riga. Davy Klaasen scored with a corner shot from Memphis Depay in the 18th minute but it stayed at that goal. The Netherlands itself was sometimes sloppy in the defense and gave away two good chances shortly after the goal. Justin Bijlow achieved a nice save in the second half.
“I’ve already predicted it all,” Van Gaal said. “As a team, we did not make any mistakes. Personal mistakes did happen but that cannot be avoided.”
What the 70-year-old coach did blame his team for was the performance at the end of the match. “In Latvia, they could no longer put a foot in front of the other after 70 minutes. We benefitted too little from that. Then, you just have to play the ball around. We made a mistake there.”
Bijlow showed why he is the new number 1 at Oranje for the time being. The Feyenoord player prevented a draw with a good save. “He made a good save, so I’m happy about that,” Van Gaal said who again repeated the goalkeeper battle at Oranje is not yet over.
“It is still an open competition. Jasper Cillessen has always worked well for me. Mark Fleks also presented himself well this week,” the coach said.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.