Louis van Gaal has stirred controversy with surprising allegations related to Argentina, Lionel Messi, and the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar.
Van Gaal was at the helm of the Netherlands during last winter’s highly-watched international tournament. Despite his efforts, his team suffered a penalty shootout defeat to the eventual champions. In one of the tournament’s most captivating matches, Argentina appeared to be on their way to the semi-finals after Nahuel Molina and Messi netted goals on either side of halftime.
Nevertheless, a late-game twist saw Wout Weghorst scoring two crucial goals, pushing the quarter-final tie into extra time. Despite the extra 30 minutes, no additional goals were scored, leading to the match being decided by a penalty shootout.
Argentina ultimately emerged victorious with a 4-3 shootout win, with Lautaro Martinez delivering the decisive spot-kick for the South American team. However, both Argentina’s and the Netherlands’ players faced substantial criticism for their behavior during the penalty shootout, revealing that antagonizing their opponents was not one-sided.
Meanwhile, a passionate Lionel Messi celebrated his goal right in front of Louis van Gaal, cupping his hands to his ears and directing his gaze squarely at the seasoned Dutch coach.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was displeased with comments made by Van Gaal in the lead-up to the match and used them as motivation for his outstanding Man of the Match performance.
Messi also grabbed attention on social media when he interrupted his post-match interview to address Wout Weghorst, who was fixated on the legendary forward in the tunnel, saying, “What are you looking at, bozo?”.
For Argentina, as a team, the victory over the Netherlands marked a significant moment in their pursuit of winning the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
Following the quarter-final clash in Lusail, Van Gaal stepped down as the head coach of the Netherlands. Concluding his third and final stint as the manager of the Oranje, the former Barcelona and Manchester United boss was succeeded by Ronald Koeman.
What did Van Gaal say about Argentina, Messi and the 2022 World Cup?
Nine months after losing to Argentina, Van Gaal has made some eyebrow-raising comments about that match, suggesting the tournament was designed for Messi to become a world champion. Describing the match as “preconceived”, Van Gaal appears to be suggesting that the game was rigged to suit Argentina and their iconic No. 10.
Speaking this week, Van Gaal is quoted by Dutch outletNOSas saying: “I don’t really want to say much about it. If you see how Argentina gets the goals and how we get the goals and how some of Argentina’s players crossed the line and weren’t punished, then I think it’s all preconceived game.”
Asked exactly he meant by that, Van Gaal added: “I mean everything I say by that. That Messi had to become world champion? I think so, yes.” It’s clear that Van Gaal believes Messi and his Argentina teammates had an unfair disadvantage on that night last December.
😳🏆 Van Gaal on Holland-Argentina:
“I don’t really want to say much about it.”
“If you see how Argentina gets the goals and how we get the goals and how some of Argentina’s players crossed the line and weren’t punished, then I think it’s all preconceived game.”
“I mean… pic.twitter.com/rlQQOf3bFG
— EuroFoot (@eurofootcom) September 4, 2023
Van Gaal, who turned 72 last month, is certainly no stranger to controversy. However, his latest comments regarding Argentina, Messi and the 2022 World Cup are likely to spark a backlash – particularly from all those associated with the reigning world champions.