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Jul 6, 2014

Dutch can’t keep relying on Van Gaal’s bag of tricks

SALVADOR, Brazil, (Reuters) – Louis van Gaal’s tactical masterstroke got them out of a sticky situation again in the quarter-final on Saturday but the Netherlands will know they cannot continue relying on their coach to conjure up tricks if they are to go further at the World Cup.

Van Gaal‘s reputation as a meticulous tactician was enhanced when he substituted his goalkeeper and Tim Krul went on to make two penalty shootout saves and take the Dutch past Costa Rica in a dramatic finish to their goalless draw.

Jul 6, 2014

Soccer-Dutch can’t keep relying on Van Gaal’s bag of tricks

SALVADOR, Brazil, July 6 (Reuters) – Louis van Gaal’s tactical masterstroke got them out of a sticky situation again in the quarter-final on Saturday but the Netherlands will know they cannot continue relying on their coach to conjure up tricks if they are to go further at the World Cup.

Van Gaal’s reputation as a meticulous tactician was enhanced when he substituted his goalkeeper and Tim Krul went on to make two penalty shootout saves and take the Dutch past Costa Rica in a dramatic finish to their goalless draw.

Jul 6, 2014

Nigerian federation voted out of office as FIFA ban looms

SALVADOR Brazil (Reuters) – Nigeria’s football federation were voted out of office on Saturday after being accused of botching up the country’s World Cup campaign but it is unlikely FIFA will recognise the hastily-arranged elections as anything more than a coup d’etat.

An extraordinary general assembly of the federation went ahead in Abuja on Saturday despite FIFA’s warning of a possible suspension for the African nation if it did not restore the old leadership to power.

Jul 6, 2014

Soccer-Nigerian federation voted out of office as FIFA ban looms

SALVADOR, Brazil, July 5 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s football federation were voted out of office on Saturday after being accused of botching up the country’s World Cup campaign but it is unlikely FIFA will recognise the hastily-arranged elections as anything more than a coup d’etat.

An extraordinary general assembly of the federation went ahead in Abuja on Saturday despite FIFA’s warning of a possible suspension for the African nation if it did not restore the old leadership to power.

Jul 6, 2014

Soccer-Dutch shootout win down to Krul’s reach, close study

SALVADOR, Brazil, July 5 (Reuters) – Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal said their World Cup quarter-final win on penalties was the result of substitute keeper Tim Krul’s long reach and a close study of Costa Rica’s last match, which also ended in a shootout.

Regular keeper Jasper Cillessen, who was replaced by Krul shortly before the end of extra time, was kept in the dark about the plan so as not to distract him during normal play, Van Gaal said of his unorthodox, and ultimately successful switch.

Jul 6, 2014

‘Wonderful’ Costa Rica exit with pride, Pinto says

SALVADOR Brazil (Reuters) – Costa Rica achieved “wonderful things” at this World Cup and are proud to bow out having conceded only two goals and without losing a game, coach Jorge Luis Pinto said on Saturday.

“During this World Cup we have done very beautiful things that many people didn’t believe we could achieve – wonderful things,” Pinto said after a 4-3 penalty shootout defeat by the Netherlands following a quarter-final which finished 0-0 at the end of extra time.

Jul 6, 2014

Soccer-’Wonderful’ Costa Rica exit with pride, Pinto says

SALVADOR, Brazil, July 5 (Reuters) – Costa Rica achieved “wonderful things” at this World Cup and are proud to bow out having conceded only two goals and without losing a game, coach Jorge Luis Pinto said on Saturday.

“During this World Cup we have done very beautiful things that many people didn’t believe we could achieve – wonderful things,” Pinto said after a 4-3 penalty shootout defeat by the Netherlands following a quarter-final which finished 0-0 at the end of extra time.

Jul 5, 2014

Belgium depart with unfinished business but future is bright

SALVADOR Brazil (Reuters) – Belgium departed the World Cup on Saturday with a sense of unfinished business but also having set out a marker for future tournaments, notably the next European Championship in 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.

Their 1-0 quarter-final loss to Argentina was a heart-breaking experience but with a relatively youthful squad – the third youngest of the 32 teams at the World Cup with an average age of 25.5 years – Belgium have the potential to develop into a force to be reckoned with.

Jul 5, 2014

Soccer-Belgium depart with unfinished business but future is bright

SALVADOR, Brazil, July 5 (Reuters) – Belgium departed the World Cup on Saturday with a sense of unfinished business but also having set out a marker for future tournaments, notably the next European Championship in 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.

Their 1-0 quarter-final loss to Argentina was a heart-breaking experience but with a relatively youthful squad – the third youngest of the 32 teams at the World Cup with an average age of 25.5 years – Belgium have the potential to develop into a force to be reckoned with.

Jul 4, 2014

Van Gaal admits underestimating his own team

SALVADOR Brazil (Reuters) – Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal admitted he may be guilty of underestimating his own World Cup squad but said his players would not be making the same mistake with regard to their quarter-final opponents Costa Rica.

The teams meet at the Fonte Nova arena on Saturday.

Van Gaal told reporters on Friday the Dutch had brought “not a fantastic team but a team that is hard to beat” to the tournament in Brazil, prompting a question about perhaps undervaluing the potential of his own side.