Netherlands vs Costa Rica World Cup 2014 preview: Louis van Gaal says squad is 'pulling in the same direction'

Unity has been a major factor in the Netherlands' run says the future Manchester United manager

With their World Cup pedigree, the Netherlands will kick off their quarter-final against Costa Rica today as heavy favourites but coach Louis van Gaal insists there is no danger of them taking Los Ticos lightly.

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For Costa Rica this is the first World Cup quarter-final in their history but Van Gaal said: “I don’t think there’s any question of underestimating Costa Rica. I would say that the players consider this to be the most important stage and they are going for their objective. And the objective is not something we want to underestimate.”

This is the Netherlands’ second match in Salvador where they thrashed Spain 5-1 in their opening group fixture and Van Gaal has seen their “confidence grow” since then. They have won all four games played to date and scored a tournament-best 12 goals. The fact they have come from behind in three of those four games –including Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Mexico when they trailed 1-0 entering the 88 minute – gives their coach further cause for confidence. “We were able to come back on two occasions knowing that penalties had been unjustly awarded,” he added of the games against Spain and Australia.

 

One feature of this Dutch squad is their unity and Van Gaal praised the way the squad’s senior players support the younger members of the group. He believes this togetherness has helped them achieve the results they have managed so far, and raised hopes of reaching a fourth World Cup final. “Although we don’t have the best starting 11, we certainly are among the best squads. By that I mean we have 23 players who are all pulling in the same direction. We support each other and the players compliment each other and that’s why we have got some strong results here. Even if we lose, the Dutch team will fight every single minute to become world champions.”

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