Tuesday July 8 2014
Van Gaal has 'Argentina plan'

Louis Van Gaal has “a plan” on how the Netherlands can neutralise Leo Messi and Argentina in the World Cup semi-final.

The clash kicks off in Sao Paulo on Wednesday at 21.00 UK time (20.00 GMT).

“I have a plan ready on how to stop Messi and Argentina,” assured the Dutch tactician in his Press conference.

“We are about to face Argentina, not just a single player, so we need to approach this in terms of a team and not of individuals, even if they are particularly impressive ones.

“If Messi has been voted World Player of the Year four times, then there must be a reason. In any case, I have a plan put in place to interrupt his moves too.”

There are concerns for Robin Van Persie, who trained separately from his teammates today due to “a stomach complaint. I don’t know if he’ll be able to play.”

Argentina have won every game so far, albeit without particularly impressive performances, while the Netherlands needed penalties to see off Costa Rica after crushing Spain 5-1 in their opening game.

“Who is the favourite to reach the Final? It’s 50-50. It is difficult right now to say which team is stronger.”

Van Gaal shocked many – including Jasper Cillessen – when he substituted the goalkeeper in the last minute of extra time against Costa Rica.

It proved a masterstroke, as Tim Krul saved two spot-kicks in the shoot-out, but the Coach insists Cillessen remains his first choice.

“Cillessen will play because he’s doing an excellent job.”