Football

Netherlands 1st half vs. USA ‘unacceptable’

Netherlands 1st half vs.  USA ‘unacceptable’
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AL RAYYAN, Qatar — Louis van Gaal branded Netherlands’ first half performance against the United States as « unacceptable » despite booking their place in the World Cup quarterfinals with a 3-1 win.

Van Gaal’s team went in at half-time 2-0 up thanks to goals from Memphis Depay and Daley Blind, but the 71-year-old was not happy with the overall display in the first 45 minutes and warned that if it is repeated against higher quality opposition, they will be knocked out.

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« I was very critical at half-time in my analysis despite that we were in the lead 2-0, » said Van Gaal.

« I think they were fantastic goals and one of these goals was really a team goal. However, in the first half we suffered so much, we were dispossessed so often and it is not necessary.

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« That is not acceptable in a World Cup if you play top countries. In the second half we made a much better job even though we scored fewer goals. »

Netherlands’ victory — their first World Cup knockout win since finishing third under Van Gaal in 2014 — sets up a quarterfinal clash with either Argentina or Australia.

Van Gaal insisted afterward it was a performance that would give his players confidence ahead of the last eight and reiterated his claim that his players are good enough to leave Qatar as world champions.

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« We are very, very pleased, » he added.

« I don’t expect France, Argentina or Spain are going to adapt to the Netherlands but I think we have big chances here.

« I have been talking for a year that we can become world champions, not that we will but we can. I am talking about team building and I derive pleasure from the group of players and performance and results. »

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