DOHA, Qatar, Dec 8 – The Netherlands will be bidding to “change” the memories from their semi-final loss on penalties in 2014 when they face Argentina again at the World Cup on Friday, said forward Memphis Depay.
One of the tournament’s most storied rivalries will add another chapter in the quarter-final clash at Lusail Stadium, eight years after Louis van Gaal’s side were a shootout away from reaching the final in Brazil.
Depay was a unused substitute that day, but is expected to start this time around.
“In 2014 I was there and things ended slightly differently (to how we wanted) but I’d like to change that now,” the Barcelona forward told a pre-match press conference.
A semi-final place against Brazil or Croatia is up for grabs and Van Gaal, back in charge for a third spell, knows his team will need to step up.
“The tournament is actually starting tomorrow for real for us, although of course I dont want to downplay the importance of other countries we were able to beat,” he said.
“But Argentina and Brazil, who we will possibly play in the next round, are quite different to the teams we beat in the group stage and last 16.”
The last time the two teams met in a World Cup quarter-final in 1998, the Netherlands won thanks to a memorable late winning goal by Dennis Bergkamp.
“It was an amazing moment for the country and what a goal,” said Depay.
“The game will be decided on moments in the game. So if we believe we can catch a moment we can go through.”
Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi is hoping to finally end his wait for a World Cup title with Argentina, after losing the final to Germany in extra time eight years ago.
The Paris Saint-Germain star has dazzled in Qatar and the Dutch will have to nullify his affect on the game.
“We’re not going to reveal our tactics to you (about stopping Messi). It would be pretty stupid to reveal your own tactics,” Van Gaal told reporters.
“But it’s not difficult to come up with an answer, you want to block and close the passing lines.”
– Di Maria comments ‘a pity’ –
Argentina’s Angel Di Maria told TyC Sports last year that Van Gaal was the “worst” coach in his career, after the winger struggled during his time under the Dutchman at Manchester United.
Depay also failed to find his best form playing for Van Gaal at Old Trafford and the coach downplayed Di Maria’s comments.
“He (Di Maria) is one of the very few players who has ever said that, normally it’s the other way round,” said Van Gaal.
“I don’t like it that Angel said that, it’s a pity. But sometimes a head coach has to take decisions that don’t always end well.
“The same thing happened to him (Depay), he also played for Manchester, but now we kiss each other, mouth to mouth. We won’t do that here now.”
The 71-year-old Van Gaal returned to coaching after a five-year absence in 2021 to lead the Netherlands at the World Cup.
He will stand down after the tournament, but would not rule out taking another job.
“If I’m presented with a wonderful opportunity, say a country with a great challenge, it could well be that I continue to work as a coach for a bit.
“I’m 71, of course I look marvellous, I look young.”