Soccer World Cup: Only Gakpo shines at Oranje - van Gaal doesn't understand criticism

Criticism was unwanted.

Soccer World Cup: Only Gakpo shines at Oranje - van Gaal doesn't understand criticism

Criticism was unwanted. Despite the next dull performance, Louis van Gaal insisted that the Netherlands' game at the World Cup was completely fine - and immediately folded a critic after the perfectly made group victory.

"I don't agree with them and I won't explain it. They have a different view of football than I do," said van Gaal to a journalist who asked about the reasons for Elftal's soporific game in the 2-0 (1-0) win over Qatar would have.

"Why don't you just write that we're playing terribly boring and go home tomorrow because you don't care," grumbled the Bonds coach. What do you think should be made of the Dutch game? "Everyone should be proud that we're through to the next round. Things aren't that bad," said van Gaal.

Oranje without effort and shine

But they look massively boring. The Netherlands also fell into a completely unnecessary passivity against Qatar after Cody Gakpo's lead (26th minute), as they did in the 1-1 draw against Ecuador. After Frenkie de Jong's second goal (49'), things finally shifted into second gear.

Van Gaal and his players almost strained to emphasize the positive things. "We're through, that's what today was about. I think we were better on the ball today than in previous games, we had more control," said Gakpo. The 23-year-old was the only highlight in the dull Oranje game at Al-Bait's desert stadium. In front of 66,784 fans, the PSV Eindhoven pro scored his third goal in three games - and it was the first goal each time. Only the Italian Alessandro Altobelli had previously managed to do this in 1986.

Gakpo didn't want to put himself on a higher level than his teammates. "We're all doing it together. I've been the finisher a few times now, but everyone helps each other. It's a good feeling," said the midfielder. For coach van Gaal, the X-factor was different anyway. The coach praised the performance of Memphis Depay, who was in the starting XI for the first time after his long-term thigh injury: "Memphis played and he was involved in both goals. That was the difference. Now we have to involve him even better in the game."

Historically, Qatar does poorly

Ultimately, van Gaal's success proves him right. For the ninth time, the Netherlands has successfully mastered the group stage of a World Cup. In the round of 16 on Saturday it is against England, the USA, Iran or Wales. World Cup hosts Qatar, whose exit was already certain before the kick-off, lost their third group game after losing 2-0 to Ecuador and 3-1 to Senegal and bowed out in their first final without a point as the worst host in the World Cup so far. Story.

The team went into the tournament as Asian champions. The state had invested a lot of money in building the team since the World Cup was awarded twelve years ago. Prior to Qatar, only South Africa were eliminated as hosts in the group stage in 2010. The "Bafana bafana" had landed at least one win and scored four points.

Few highlights

At the beginning, an amazingly lively game developed, in which the hosts did not hide and made an effort to say an honorable farewell. But it got tough relatively quickly. Although the Dutch controlled the game and had the ball most of the time, they had too little movement in the game and too little creativity. The two Bundesliga professionals Mathijs de Ligt (Bayern Munich) and Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen), who did not play in the preliminary round, watched the whole thing from the bench.

The icebreaker was once again Gakpo, who held his own against three opponents after a one-two with the ex-Bremer Klaassen. The hosts held out bravely even after the change in the Al-Bait stadium, which was not sold out. Nevertheless, the game was quickly decided. A botched header saved Depay from Qatar's good goalkeeper Barsham Meshaal, but De Jong tipped the rebound into the net.