The Dutch national team has just started its first training in Qatar. The Orange arrived yesterday in the small oil state, where the World Cup will start on Sunday. At the first press conference of the Netherlands in Qatar, national coach Louis van Gaal said he was impressed by the facilities. “Everything is fantastic here. You can’t argue with it.”
“Acclimatization is now the most important thing,” continues van Gaal. “My players have traveled a lot. Some played a match on Sunday. Then they came to the Netherlands and the next day to Qatar. This can take a lot of energy. That will take you the first three days.”
Van Gaal is very wary of the physical condition of his selection due to the busy schedule and the high temperatures in Qatar. “We also have to adapt to the climate here. If the data says it will be too heavy, then we have to look closely at that. We have a disadvantage with the climate in our frog country. Fortunately, it is all a bit better in the stadiums cooler.”
“It is already fantastic that 3000 Orange fans come to see us”
In addition to the extreme temperatures, Van Gaal also discussed the expected half-full stadiums during the World Cup. “That was also the case in 1994 during the World Cup in America. Then it was also too hot to come and watch. Moreover, there was hardly any contact with the home front at the time and we did not know what was going on in the Netherlands. Now we do. It is already fantastic that 3000 Orange fans come to see us.”
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Opportunities of Orange
The foreign press reminded Van Gaal of his statements that he believes the Dutch national team has a good chance of becoming world champion. “We don’t have the best players in the world, but I believe in team building and tactics. I have the imagination to see that we can become world champions. We will need some luck. If you can’t imagine that you can become champions , then you will not become it either,” said the 71-year-old national coach.
The World Cup starts next Sunday with the opening match between hosts Qatar and Ecuador (5 p.m.). Monday is the first game of the Orange. At 5 p.m., there will be a kick-off against Senegal.