'I speak a little Spanish' - Van Gaal explains heated clashes with Argentina players after Netherlands World Cup exit
- Netherlands eliminated after 4-3 shoot-out loss
- Quarter-final fiery with multiple skirmishes
- Van Gaal revealed he understood taunts aimed at him
WHAT HAPPENED? Tensions ran high in an action-packed quarter-final that saw Argentina's Leandro Paredes boot a ball at the Dutch bench before being bodied by Oranje captain Virgil van Dijk. Albiceleste goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez turned out to the hero as he saved two of the Netherlands' spot-kicks, although head coach Van Gaal revealed that he was well aware of what the Aston Villa shot stopper was saying about him after the match.
WHAT THEY SAID: "I speak a little Spanish, after the game the goalkeeper of Argentina told me that I spoke too much," the veteran tactician told reporters after the full-time whistle. Indeed, Martinez himself told the media: "I heard Van Gaal saying, ‘We’ve got an advantage in penalties. If we go to penalties we win.’ I think he needs to keep his mouth shut."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Martinez's comments reflect how rivalries on the pitch spilled into post-match sentiment, after footage emerged of Lionel Messi calling Dutch goalscorer Wout Weghorst a "fool" in front of reporters. Van Gaal, meanwhile, revealed that Friday night's fiery affair would be his last in charge of the Dutch national team, as he announced his retirement from management in defiant fashion.
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DID YOU KNOW? The quarter-final between the Netherlands and Argentina was the two sides' sixth meeting in World Cup history. There has only been two matches played more often in the competition's history: Brazil vs Sweden and Argentina vs Germany (both seven times).
WHAT NEXT? While the Netherlands look for a new manager to take them through European qualifiers, Argentina have a semi-final date with Croatia on Tuesday, after their historic victory over Brazil earlier on Friday.