The Netherlands defeat Chile 2-0 to top Group B as van Gaal can do no wrong
By Mike Corder ,AP
June 25, 2014, 12:01 am TWN
SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Two substitutes, two goals.
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal can, it seems, do no wrong at this World Cup.
He sent on replacements Leroy Fer and Memphis Depay in the second half of the match against Chile on Monday and they scored both goals in a 2-0 win that confirmed the Dutch as Group B winners with a maximum nine points.
"It is luck," Van Gaal himself said about his super substitutions. "Just luck."
But it was more than that. Fer, listed by FIFA as 188 centimeters tall, scored with a header a minute after coming on as a substitute for the 171-centimeters-tall Wesley Sneijder.
"I know Leroy Fer is tall compared with our opponents. I know he can head the ball well," Van Gaal said.
Then there was Depay.
"We analyzed that Chile in the last 15 minutes gives away more room," Van Gaal said. "If you have a creative player in at that moment, you have the chance to use that space."
Manchester United, which hired Van Gaal to restore its fortunes after a disastrous season by the club's lofty standards, must be delighted even if it has to wait a bit longer for him to join them after the World Cup.
Chile, one of the most attacking and attractive teams at the World Cup, had no answer at the Itaquerao Stadium, especially not without midfielder Arturo Vidal who watched from the bench.
"I played the best team I had," said Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli.
Juventus star Vidal had knee surgery before the tournament and had a sore Achilles tendon but said a day before the match he felt fit and ready to play.
Both teams had already advanced to the second round, but Chile's first loss of the tournament consigned it to second place in Group B and a meeting with host Brazil in Belo Horizonte.