Dutch ride the feelgood factor ahead of Messi challenge | Football News

DOHA: A video of Louis van Gaal dancing in the team hotel after his side’s win over USA has gone viral and there is no shortage of joy in the Netherlands camp as they prepare to face Argentina in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
Accustomed to infighting in the past, this Dutch side are tightly knit as they prepare to take on Lionel Messi and company on Friday with a place in the semi-finals up for grabs.
“The vibes are good, we’re having a lot of fun with the team, the communication with the coaches and the staff is very good. So yeah, the feeling is great,” defender Jurrien Timber told reporters on Tuesday.
Defender Nathan Ake said the players felt very good together.
“We know when to relax and get our heads out of football a bit, but we also know when to focus, and that moment is coming very soon,” he added.
Barring the way to the final four is an Argentinian side powered by Messi, who are trying to win the only major prize to elude him in his glittering career.
Ake, who works with former Messi coach Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, hasn’t asked his boss how to stop the Argentine maestro.
“No, I haven’t spoken to him, but if I did, I’m sure he would tell me that it will be quite difficult. It will be a good battle for sure.” Ake said.
Everything will depend on what Van Gaal decides to do tactically.
“Since he arrived he’s been great for us. I think he’s very direct. He lets everyone know where they are at… you know exactly what your role is in the team, and off the pitch, he’s a good guy too,” Aké said.
The players were inspired by Van Gaal’s stoic battle with cancer, which he did not reveal to the squad during qualifying, and with the 71-year-old due to retire after the World Cup, they want to send it in style.
“He doesn’t want any sympathy or anything like that. He just wants us to do well and you can see his pleasure in the games if we do well, I think that’s his pleasure,” Ake said.


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