Van Gaal acknowledges winger shortage as Netherlands boss retires after World Cup exit

By Sports Desk December 11, 2022 421

Louis van Gaal says he leaves a Netherlands squad with close bonds but not enough wingers after he retired in the aftermath of their World Cup exit.

The Oranje went unbeaten throughout regulation time at Qatar 2022 and were only eliminated on penalties by Argentina in the quarter-finals on Friday.

Van Gaal's side boasted an array of defensive and offensive talent, with Cody Gakpo finishing the tournament with three goals to his name up front in attack and Wout Weghorst snatching a dramatic brace versus La Albiceleste.

But though the veteran coach feels he departs a team that can rely on each other, he acknowledges they lack the crucial players out wide to exploit the full breadth of the pitch.

"What do I leave behind with the Oranje?" he told AD. "I leave a good, close-knit group with a lot of footballing ability.

"But I leave without wingers who can pass an opponent at the highest level. You need wingers who can pass those men.

"Dutch football doesn't have that at the moment, not when it comes to the very highest level of a World Cup. That's why I started playing differently."

Van Gaal noticeably favoured a direct approach in the closing stages of the Netherlands' game with Argentina, forcing extra-time after two late goals forged through the middle.

The 71-year-old will now be succeeded by former Oranje boss Ronald Koeman, who returns to the helm of the national team, having left for an ill-fated spell with Barcelona in August 2020.

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Last modified on Sunday, 11 December 2022 10:27
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