Van Gaal was full of praise of his Dutch side’s efforts after they advanced to their second successive World Cup semi-final, despite not scoring in the match and winning narrowly on penalties.
The soon-to-be Manchester United Manager has also hailed his cuurent side as ‘the best group’ he’s worked with in terms of cohesion and attitude shown on and off the pitch.
“In terms of team spirit and togetherness, this is the best group I've worked with,” he told FIFA.com.
“I thought we had more quality than Costa Rica and deserved to win. I don’t know how much ball possession we had, how many times we hit the woodwork and how many chances we had – in the end it’s all about scoring.”
Van Gaal revealed that they did practice penalties in training and that the plan was always to bring goalkeeper Tim Krul on if the match was to head to sudden-death, as the Newcastle United shot-stopper has a more physically imposing presence in goal than Cillessen.
“We have practiced penalties, I believe when you're used to a certain way of shooting you'll be more comfortable taking that shot,” said the 62-year-old.
“We told Tim Krul that he would be the best goalkeeper for the penalties as he’s bigger; we didn't tell Cillessen, as we didn't want to ruin his preparation and concentration.”
Despite his heroics, Tim Krul will not be selected in goal ahead of first choice Jasper Cillessen in their match against Argentina, as Van Gaal’s plan was pre-planned on penalties only.
“There is no question about who will start next game, it will be Cillessen. But we felt Krul was the better choice here – and he proved that. He guessed the correct way for every penalty,” he concluded.