Louis van Gaal, the former coach of the Netherlands, said that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar was set up so that Argentina, led by Lionel Messi, would win the championship.
Van Gaal’s Netherlands were eliminated from the World Cup quarterfinals on penalties after a 2-2 draw by Argentina, who went on to win the tournament.
Following the Dutch team’s World Cup elimination, Van Gaal, who had resigned as head coach, expressed his belief that their match against Argentina was planned.
Translation of a statement made by Dutch newspaper NOS: “I do not really want to say much about it,” said van Gaal. “I believe it was a planned game when you consider how both Argentina and we scored goals, as well as how some Argentina players went over the line without getting in trouble.”
When pressed to elaborate, he answered, “I mean everything I say.”
Once again asked whether he believed Messi was set up to win the World Cup, Van Gaal said, “I think so, yes.”
Tension erupted between the Dutch coach and the Argentine as Messi ran in front of Van Gaal to celebrate his goal against the Netherlands while cupping his hands to his ears.
Following the penalty shootout, the captain of Argentina also spoke with Van Gaal, and Messi subsequently expressed contrition for his conduct during the match.
At the World Cup, Virgil van Dijk, the captain of the Netherlands, refuted the remarks made by his former boss while playing against Argentina.
“Yes, I did hear that this morning. That’s all there is to it,” he said to NOS. “Of course, that’s his view. It is OK for everybody to have an opinion. I disagree with that viewpoint.”