Tough group but happy with conditions, says Dutch coach
The Hague – Dutch football head coach Louis van Gaal was not very satisfied with th! e draw for the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Costa do Sauipe, Brazil, with Spain, Chile and Australia their opponents in Group B.
The opening match in the group will be between the World Cup finalists of 2010, Spain and the Netherlands, June 13 in Salvador. The Dutch will play Australia June 18 in Porto Alegre and Chile June 23 in Sao Paulo, reports Xinhua.
Spain are the current number one in the FIFA rankings while the Dutch are ranked ninth, Chile 15th and Australia 59th.
“It’s a tough and strong group in terms of opponents,” Dutch head coach Louis van Gaal reacted in a statement by the Dutch football association KNVB.
“To play against the world champions in the opening match is really difficult. Moreover, the Spanish have had a strong qualifying campaign, in which they only conceded three goals.”
The Netherlands have met Spain ten times before, won four and lost five. The last encounter was the 2010 World Cup final, in which the Dutch lo! st 0-1 after extra time. The Netherlands have played Chile only once in! their history, June 8, 1928 in Rotterdam (2-2).
They have faced Australia three times in a friendly, drawn twice and lost once, in 2008 (1-2).
“I saw Chile play against Colombia (Oct 11, 3-3) when they played very good and were 3-0 up,” added Van Gaal. “While we did not even win one of the three previous encounters with Australia. So it will not be easy.”
“However the conditions are not so bad, which is also important,” continued the Dutch head coach.
“Fortunately, we do not start the tournament in the hottest part of Brazil and also the travelling time could be worse. This will be beneficial to the recovery of the players. We can set up our training camp as planned in Rio de Janeiro.”
Dutch captain Robin van Persie followed the draw at home in front of the television in Manchester, England.
“It will be interesting,” said Van Persie. “Especially the fact that we start against the opponents we lost to in the 2010 final. I like th! at we immediately get the opportunity to take revenge for that loss. After that game we know where we stand. The order of the matches is good in my opinion.”