Louis van Gaal announces Netherlands exit after “painful” Argentina defeat at World Cup

Louis van Gaal has confirmed that he will leave his position as head coach of the Netherlands national team following their exit from the World Cup.

The Dutchman has been in charge of his country since the end of Euro 2020, when they were embarrassingly knocked out in the Last 16. He guided them to the quarter-finals of this year’s World Cup, though did face criticism for their style of play.

The Oranje came unstuck in the last eight, with Argentina knocking them out on penalties after a thrilling clash. Van Gaal has now confirmed that the defeat was to be his final game in charge of what has been his third spell as Netherlands boss.

“First and foremost I won’t be continuing. I only did it for this period of time. This was my very last match of my third term as head coach,” Van Gaal said in his post-match press conference.

“In that time I coached 20 matches and we didn’t lose a single one. I don’t know how many matches we won, but you can Google ‘Louis van Gaal, Dutch team’ and see the goal difference for yourself.

“I look back on it in a very positive way. With England we were the only team that was unbeaten. I don’t think we have been beaten today. It was only a penalty shoot-out. What I’m leaving behind is a great group.

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The Netherlands lost on penalties to Argentina in the quarter-finals

The Netherlands lost on penalties to Argentina in the quarter-finals
DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

“Personally and football-wise this is a team that is very close and with a lot of skill. I was coach for 20 matches and we never lost over that time. That’s for a reason. We’ve played against top countries as well, although those countries were eliminated earlier in the competition.”

Van Gaal was unbeaten in his 20 games since replacing Frank de Boer last summer. His departure is not much of a surprise, given it was announced in April that Ronald Koeman would take over as manager following the World Cup.

“I am looking forward to the new collaboration. A little over a year and a half ago, I certainly did not leave the Dutch national team out of dissatisfaction,” Koeman said at the time.

“My stay felt good, the results were good and the click with the internationals was good. We will soon continue on that path. That is certain for me.”

Van Gaal will now re-enter retirement having first hung up his managerial boots in 2019. He only returned to take over the Netherlands job and is not thought to be looking for a new job now he has left his post.

It is unknown precisely when Koeman is scheduled to take over from Van Gaal, though it will likely be soon after the squad return to the Netherlands. Their next games will come in March when they face France and Gibraltar in the first round of qualifiers for Euro 2024.

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