The Netherlands coach had found it difficult to lift his players after their semi-final exit to Argentina but was pleased with their reaction to beat Brazil to claim third place
Oranje ran out comfortable winners over the hosts thanks to goals from Robin van Persie, Daley Blind and Georginio Wijnaldum, in what was Van Gaal's last match in charge before taking up a new role at Manchester United.
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"This was very difficult for us," Van Gaal told NOS after the game. "All the odds were against us. Brazil had a day more in preparation and we were defeated after penalties.
"We could have been in the final. Our spirit was down after Argentina. I only spoke about the Brazil match in the team talk, not about Argentina. Luckily we showed how good we are again."
Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm came on late in the game for Netherlands, meaning that all 23 members of the Dutch squad saw action in the finals.
"It's wonderful that we used all 23 players," Van Gaal enthused. "The players wanted Vorm in the starting line-up but I told them it wasn't possible because I wanted the best XI to start. At 2-0 I had a better feeling about putting him in the team."
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"I dont't think I've made mistakes," he said. "After the match, you could say I had to wait with my substitutes against Argentina because I couldn't let [Tim] Krul come on for the penalties but that's always in hindsight."