herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Van Gaal re-opens Scolari feud in bronze battle

NETHERLANDS coach Louis van Gaal 
remains convinced the World Cup was set up to favour hosts Brazil.

Brazil and the Netherlands face each other in Brasilia tonight to decide who ends the tournament in third place.

The third-place play-off is not a popular match and both coaches would of course much rather be contesting the final 24 hours later in the Maracana.

Van Gaal accused FIFA of "tricks" and a lack of "fair play" earlier in the tournament when asked about Brazil's potential path to the final.

Van Gaal was angry that Brazil, as winners of Group A, were allowed to play their second-round and quarter-final games before everyone else. As hosts, they also played their opening group game against Croatia first.

His comments provoked outrage from Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, but the Manchester United manager in waiting is standing by his words.

"I will stick to the facts," Van Gaal told a press conference.

"The facts are that Brazil started first. And Brazil again has played first again and we played a day later.

"These are the facts. I am not going to beat around bush. Then you know what the implications are if that is the case.

"The question is why? I think Scolari should think about that if he wants to do that and is allowed to do that."

Van Gaal's annoyance has clearly been heightened by the fact that Brazil have had another day to prepare for the third-place play-off.

"We have one day less than Brazil," Van Gaal added. "We have to get into shape in two-and-a-half days, which physically is hard."

Van Gaal hit out at FIFA again on Wednesday night following his side's defeat to Argentina - this time over the point of the play-off.

The 62-year-old said: "This match should never be played. I've been saying that for 10 years - it's unfair."

The former Bayern Munich and Ajax coach has changed his tune slightly since then, though.

"There is still something for us to do here - we can still write history," Van Gaal said. "Holland has always lost a match in a World Cup. That happened in '74 and '78 (when they made the final). I hope I can prepare them to play a good match."

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