Fifa World Cup 2014

Louis Van Gaal's reputation burnished in Brazil

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 July, 2014, 10:45pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 July, 2014, 10:45pm

Win or lose against Argentina, Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal will leave this World Cup having firmly reinforced his reputation as a master tactician.

Manchester United fans might be forgiven for being a little giddy at the prospect of seeing the distinctive 62-year-old's presence filling the Old Trafford dugout in a few weeks' time.

But before he swaps his orange tie for red to set about reviving United's fortunes, there is unfinished business in Brazil. After Holland's 2-1 last-16 comeback win over Mexico, Van Gaal was hailed as the game's most tactically astute coach by Dirk Kuyt.

From this moment on, you will be patronised, looked at with disdain, and haunted by a constant doubt
Dutch media

The way he switched Kuyt between three positions in Fortaleza as circumstances required illustrated his thinking-out-of-the-box approach. As did the way he exploited the cooling breaks in that game to tweak tactics.

But for sheer audacity it was hard to beat his switching of keepers to bring on Tim Krul for Saturday's quarter-final penalty shoot-out - the Newcastle man repaying the coach's daring by saving two Costa Rican penalties to put the Dutch in the semis.

Known as a disciplinarian, Van Gaal has won domestic titles and cups with Ajax, AZ Alkmaar, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, as well as guiding Ajax to Champions League glory.

He is not a man to suffer fools gladly. On his United appointment the Dutch media offered their British cousins 10 tips to follow when interviewing Van Gaal.

"From this moment on, you will be patronised, looked at with disdain, and haunted by a constant doubt if Mr Van Gaal is flat out making fun of you or being dead serious," went the advice.

That will certainly make a contrast to Moyes' ever polite and apologetic turns in front of the press in his ill-fated spell as Alex Ferguson's replacement.

"Bravo, you've signed the best coach in the world," is what Van Gaal is reported to have said after being promoted to head coach at Ajax in 1991. After his latest exploits in Brazil, United fans might be saying the same thing.