Louis van Gaal never shies away from saying what is on his mind, and in a recent interview with NOS, the Dutch tactician made some controversial remarks about the 2022 FIFA World Cup and Argentina's success in Qatar.
The 72-year-old icon was the manager of Oranje during that tournament and went head-to-head with Lionel Messi's team in a now infamous quarterfinal showdown. The European giants went 2-0 down by the 73rd minute before pulling off a miraculous comeback and equalizing in the 11th minute of stoppage time in an ill-tempered encounter.
The Dutch eventually lost on penalties but some Argentine players were fortunate not to get sent off, including Lionel Messi — but some could argue the same about Van Gaal's men. The fact that Messi and Co. were awarded a penalty in normal time and that none of Scaloni's men were sent off has led Louis down a path of conspiracies.
The former Netherlands manager thus told NOS that he believes the tournament was rigged for the South American giants to win it. While controversial, this is an opinion held by several fans, as the Argentines were awarded many penalties, some of which were dubious.
However, never has a well-known public figure in the beautiful game been this public with this belief. Here's what the 72-year-old told NOS:
"I don't really want to say much about it.
"When you see how Argentina gets the goals and how we get the goals, and how some Argentina players overstepped the mark and were not punished, then I think it's all a preconceived game."
Van Gaal then doubled down on his allegations when asked to elaborate, adding: "I mean everything I say.
"That Messi should become world champion? I think so, yes."
While everyone in the Netherlands camp was disappointed to crash out of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in that manner, not everyone shares Van Gaal's sentiment. Virgil van Dijk, the captain of the Dutch national team, was asked for his thoughts on this matter and swiftly distanced himself from his former manager's opinion.
The international break is upon us, which means the Netherlands will return to action. The European heavyweights will face Greece on Thursday live on ViX and fuboTV in an interesting 2024 Euro qualifier. Van Dijk and Co. haven't been performing well so far and will need to return to winning ways immediately if they are to stand any chance of catching up with group leaders France.