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'I never said we'll be world champions' - Van Gaal demands 'respect' amid criticism of Netherlands displays in Qatar

23:06 GMT+4 28/11/2022
Louis van Gaal Netherlands 2022
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal called for calm and has demanded 'respect' for his side after their uninspiring display against Ecuador on Friday.
  • Netherlands drew 1-1 with Ecuador on Friday
  • Oranje have four points from two matches
  • Van Gaal demanded respect

WHAT HAPPENED? Van Gaal's side let a one-goal lead slip as Enner Valencia's third of the tournament saw the game finish 1-1. The Netherlands boss didn't shirk criticism for the match but did demand recognition for their impressive 17-match unbeaten run since he took charge, before denying to have claimed the Oranje would become world champions.

WHAT THEY SAID: “I agree with the criticism but we are unbeaten for 17 matches and I think if you look at the goal difference too we deserve some respect," Van Gaal said at a press conference. “I hope this is no pressure at all because always you have to identify the goal and if you don’t identify the purposes and say the quarter-finals is enough you won’t become world champions.

“We never said we will become world champions, I said we have a chance to become world champions and the players are convinced of that. If you want to become a world champion you will have to be capable of beating everyone.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Van Gaal's comments come after he berated his players following the result in Doha, citing their mistakes in possession as the reason for his side's dropped points. The Netherlands are technically top of Group A but are level with Ecuador on points, goals scored and goals conceded.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

Contrasting emotions for Van Gaal in Netherland's opening two group games...

WHAT NEXT FOR THE NETHERLANDS? The Oranje need a win against Qatar on Tuesday to be absolutely sure of qualification to the last 16, after their opponents became the first ever World Cup hosts to be eliminated before the last round of group matches following their loss to Senegal on Friday.