Louis van Gaal restores reputation by leading Netherlands to World Cup finals

The Dutch beat Andorra to qualify for tournament in Brazil

Louis van Gaal has restored his reputation by leading the Netherlands into the World Cup finals, a decade after failing in the same competition with a highly-rated team.

The 62-year-old coach delivered the Dutch to next year's finals in Brazil on Tuesday when they made sure of top place in Group D with a 2-0 win in Andorra - their seventh triumph in eight qualifiers.

The success puts Van Gaal back among the coaching elite after he had to spend years rebuilding his reputation following the failure to qualify for the 2002 finals.

Van Gaal had been expected to deliver for the Dutch in 2002 with a talent-laden team at the peak of their powers.

They had been European Championship semifinalists in 2000 and included Edgar Davids, Patrick Kluivert, Clarence Seedorf, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Edwin van der Sar.

The team finished behind Portugal and the Republic of Ireland in their qualifying group, however, to tumble out in disappointing fashion.

Van Gaal, who had built his name on multiple successes at Ajax Amsterdam and Barcelona, resigned after less than two years in the national team job.

His long path to redemption came via a spell at provincial club AZ Alkmaar whom he led to the Dutch title in 2009, breaking a 27-year monopoly on the championship held by the country's trio of top teams - Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven.

He went on to win the Bundesliga in a colourful spell at Bayern Munich before making a surprise return to the Dutch job last year, after the team had lost all three matches at Euro 2012 in Ukraine.

Van Gaal preferred not to dwell on the past on Tuesday. Asked by reporters about the contrast with 2002, he replied:

"I find that no smear on my career."

"I'm working now with a totally different group," he told SBS6 television. "I am building a very young team with a few older players.

"You must think back to the team I had to take over. To form a new team is always difficult and especially after such a disappointing European Championship but we have done well to qualify as the first country from Europe and with a goal difference of plus 20.

"In Brazil we want to achieve," he added. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. At a tournament like the World Cup, being the national coach is an exceptional job."

Reuters

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Arts and Entertainment
(L-R) Amanda Peet as Tina Morris, Melanie Lynskey as Michelle Pierson, Abby Ryder Fortson as Sophie Pierson, Mark Duplass as Brett Pierson and Steve Zissis as Alex Pappas in Togetherness
TV First US networks like HBO shook up drama - now it's comedy's turn
Travel
Pool with a view: the mMarina Bay Sands in Singapore
travel From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
News
The will of Helen Beatrix Heelis, better known as Beatrix Potter, was among those to be archived
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
News
Nigel Farage: 'I don't know anybody in politics as poor as we are'
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect