Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 7th 2014 Contents SALVADOR---Louis van Gaal says
his Netherlands team is the most
driven group of players he has ever
That s quite a compliment coming
from a 62-year-old coach who has
won the Champions League with
Ajax and the Spanish and German
leagues with Barcelona and Bayern
It showed Saturday night in Sal-
vador when the players battled
unsuccessfully for 120 minutes to
break down Costa Rica s stubborn
defence before last-minute substitute
goalkeeper Tim Krul went on as a
one-man special team and saved two
spot kicks in the shootout while four
Dutch veterans stepped in and buried
"Everyone who has been called in
has trained really hard," Van Gaal said
after the shootout victory secured a
semifinal match against Argentina in
Sao Paulo. The way we took our
penalties says a lot about how good
this team is."
His captain, Robin van Persie,
struggled against Costa Rica, but also
paid tribute to the team spirit.
"It s bizarre," van Persie said. "We
had too many chances. You have to
stay strong and focused in such cir-
cumstances. We had to work hard to
win this game."
When Van Gaal was hired as Dutch
coach in 2012, the team was on a low
after crashing out of the European
Championship with three straight
He has rebuilt the defence and
rejuvenated the team, based around
a handful of veterans---Robin van
Persie, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder
and Dirk Kuyt, who all scored in the
shootout at Arena Fonte Nova.
"It s going fantastically," Van Gaal
said. "They all take responsibility. So
I m happy with that."
When it hired him, the Dutch foot-
ball association set the experienced
coach a target of qualifying for the
World Cup semifinals.
Now the team that lost the 2010
World Cup final to Spain after extra
time and came to Brazil with low
expectations faces Lionel Messi s
Argentina for a chance to reach a
second straight final.
It helps a team s confidence when
its manager keeps pulling rabbits out
of hats with his inspired substitutions
and astute tactical changes.
None more so than Van Gaal s
decision to bring on Krul in the last
minute of extra time against Costa
Rica with World Cup elimination
staring him in the face. Van Gaal
considered him a better option in the
shootout than No 1 keeper Jasper
Cillessen, who hadn t conceded a
goal in regulation and extra time.
The Costa Ricans had played for
most of the match as if they were
prepared to settle for a shootout, but
it cost them a semifinal spot as Van
Gaal conjured another in his string
of successful substitutions in Brazil.
"We are all a bit proud that this trick
helped," Van Gaal said.
Now the tactical mastermind will
have to come up with a plan to shut
down Argentina and its star player
in Wednesday s semifinal in Sao
Paulo. "Argentina is a very good team
with very strong individual quali-
ties---Messi, for example," he said.
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, July 7, 2014
Van Gaal: Dutch squad
most driven I've worked with
RIO DE JANEIRO---The Brazilian
football confederation is trying to
overturn captain Thiago Silva s ban
for Tuesday s World Cup semifinal
against Germany. FIFA spokesman
Delia Fischer yesterday said the dis-
ciplinary committee is "analysing
material" submitted by Brazil.
Thiago Silva impeded Colombia
goalkeeper David Ospina s attempt
to kick the ball downfield during
Brazil s 2--1 quarterfinal win over
Colombia, picking up his second yel-
low card of the tournament and
incurring an automatic suspension
for the next match.
Yellow cards traditionally cannot
The FIFA disciplinary code states
that cautions can be cancelled only
in "exceptional circumstances."
At the 1962 World Cup, Brazil star
Garrincha was sent off in the semi-
finals victory against host Chile, then
was cleared to play in the final. Brazil
beat Czechoslovakia 3--1. Now, no
player can be suspended for the final
just for receiving a yellow card in the
FIFA wipes all single yellow cards
from players disciplinary records after
the quarterfinals round.
Brazil asks FIFA to
overturn Thiago Silva ban
BOGOTA---Members of Colom-
bia s national soccer team have
been welcomed home from the
World Cup in Brazil with shouts
of thanks from grateful compa-
Thousands of fans turned out
for the Sunday homecoming of
superstar James Rodriguez, his
teammates and coach Jose Peker-
man following their 2--1 loss to
Brazil in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Colombia won the previous four
games, against Greece, Ivory Coast,
Japan and Uruguay.
Colombian President Juan
Manuel Santos sent a message
thanking the team "for so much
joy and for teaching us how to
It was soccer-crazy Colombia s
best-ever World Cup perform-
ance, as it reached the quarter-
finals for the first time.
Its earlier success in the tour-
nament delighted Colombians
who hope unity can help end a
half-century of conflict that has
claimed more than 220,000
Colombia team gets hero's welcome
Netherlands' head coach Louis van Gaal applauds after the Netherlands
defeated Costa Rica 4--3 in a penalty shootout after a 0--0 tie during the
World Cup quarterfinal soccer match at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador,
Brazil, on Saturday. AP PHOTO
Brazil's Thiago Silva gets a yellow card during the World Cup quarterfinal
soccer match between Brazil and Colombia at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza,
Brazil, on Friday. AP PHOTO
Members of Colombia's national soccer team are welcomed home from the World Cup, in Bogota, Colombia,
yesterday. Thousands of fans turned out for yesterday's homecoming of superstar James Rodriguez, his
teammates and coach Jose Pekerman following their 2--1 loss to Brazil in the quarterfinals on Friday.
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