Australia v Netherlands: Louis van Gaal launches complaint to Fifa over need for 'a barstool' at the Estadio Beira-Rio

The future Manchester United manager reveals 'I’m a sitting down coach', but he might not see much on Wednesday night if he stays parked on the bench

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The Independent Football

The Dutch national manager Louis van Gaal last night complained to Fifa about a dug-out below pitch level which he said would require him getting “a barstool” to watch his side’s game against Australia.

The straight-talking Dutchman, who will take up the reins at Manchester United after this tournament, remonstrated with a stadium official at the Estadio Beira-Rio here during open training on Tuesday, after he found a camera position also obscured his view.

Australia vs Netherlands Live

“I’ll need a barstool to watch the game properly,” Van Gaal said. “The dug-out is at a lower level than the pitch and from where I sit there is also a camera directly in front so I will be like this [motions from side to side] to try to watch the game. The cameraman deprives me of the view - and with me all the coaches and managers sitting on the ground because we are dug under rather than dug out. That obliges us to stand up. I’m a sitting down coach, not a standing up coach. The person in charge of this should ask so I’ve done my very best, as he will.”

It is difficult to see how Fifa can resolve the issue 24 hours before the game which could see the Netherlands through to the knock-out stage if Spain and Chile draw. But asked if he felt Fifa could resolve it, he said pointedly: “I am a man of trust”, apparently meaning that he trusted them to deal with it.

Van Gaal was clearly irritated by the lack of “euphoria” in the Dutch nation for his new 5-3-2 system, despite the win 5-1 over the Spanish which it delivered. “There will always be criticism,” he said. “If I use 4-3-3 there would be criticism as well. Some things positive and negative. And when I’m involved, it’s generally negative.”


There has been criticism during the World Cup build-up to the new system, designed to get the best out of Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie, with many observers feeling that it was deviation from the nation’s ‘Total Football’ ethos.

“We have played Total Football. Nothing has changed in that respect,” Van Gaal said. “This is something I tried to explain. I tried to convince them of this but it proves very difficult. Whenever I say we're applying the Dutch principles it's interpreted differently. In the Netherlands it's assumed if you use three forwards, that's tradition. I have a different view.”

Louis Van Gaal and Robin van Persie celebrate


He faced a personal battle with the headphones required to understand the stadium translation service, trying his own on a number of occasions, then trying them on Wesley Sneijder, before giving up.

Van Gaal may bring in Jeremain Lens on the right side of  a three-man front line and revert to a 4-3-3 because Australia, the world’s 62 rated nation, pose less of a threat.

He was asked if his country’s lack of accomplishments in this tournament – which they have never won – created a need to win it, to bring the Netherlands respect. 

He said: “I think that’s in your mind. If you don’t show respect to Dutch football, that’s in your head. There’s a lot of respect for Dutch football in the world, Even that we play attractive football and that as a small country we have gone a long way. We have reached the final three times. I didn’t think it’s a bad performance for such a small country.”