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Louis Van Gaal: Third-place match “has nothing to do with sports”

Jul 9, 2014, 11:15 PM EDT

Netherlands v Argentina: Semi Final - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Getty Images

Following his side’s exit from the World Cup at the hands of Argentina on Wednesday, Holland manager Louis van Gaal explained that having a third-place match for the World Cup was pointless.

“I think this match should never be played and I’ve been saying this for 10 years,” Van Gaal noted in his post match press conference.
Despite being his reputation as a controversial figure, however, Van Gaal’s reasoning behind the theory is quite sound. “It is unfair we have one day less to recover than our opponent so that is not fair play either,” he said.
Not only do the Dutch have one day less than Brazil to recover but they only have two days of total recovery before the third-place match is scheduled to be played.
Forty-eight hours of recovery after a match lasting 120 minutes plus penalties?! That’s not just unfair, that’s a health risk. Of course, Van Gaal being Van Gaal had more pressing concerns than the mere health of his players.
“But the worst thing is I believe that chances are that you lose twice in a row. And a tournament in which you’ve played so marvelously well you would go home as a loser just because you could possibly have lost the last two matches and this has got nothing to do with sports in my view.”

“So, in a football tournament particularly not at the last stage you shouldn’t have players playing match for third-fourth place. Because there is only one award that counts and that is becoming world champion.”

Points well taken from the Dutch manager but the health factor can’t be overemphasized in this matter – after playing five matches at the highest level possible following a full season of club football, asking players to compete mere days after a grueling semifinal is outlandish.
Either FIFA needs to address the issue as soon as possible or they can not only expect both Holland and Brazil to put out their B squads but for the level of competition to resemble something along the lines of the NFL Pro Bowl.

  1. lordfletcher - Jul 9, 2014 at 11:51 PM

    As usual, he’s correct

  2. reformed2012 - Jul 10, 2014 at 1:05 AM

    Third place match should be the same day as the final, just earlier times.

    • mikeevergreen - Jul 10, 2014 at 10:37 AM

      Same stadium, too. One big happy football fest, beer, sausages, burgers, chicks, and GOOOOOOOOOOALS!

      • lordfletcher - Jul 10, 2014 at 5:11 PM

        speaking of chicks, that Belgium girl (tho 17) WOW

        Axelle Despiegelaere

  3. mazblast - Jul 10, 2014 at 1:42 AM

    Third place or “consolation” games are useless and little more than attempts at money-making involving teams that have no incentive to win (does anyone remember who’s won a third-place game, ever?).

    It brings to mind one of Pete Rozelle’s less-than-great NFL ideas, the Playoff Bowl, which matched the second-place teams from what were then the league’s two divisions. A more boring, listless game has rarely been seen in American football, a game for nothing involving two teams that would rather have been at home resting. When the NFL went to four divisions in 1967, the Playoff Bowl was eliminated, to no one’s regret.

  4. herman23934 - Jul 10, 2014 at 1:56 AM

    Stupid meaningless game. Losers go home. It’s all about Germany and Argentina now.

    He can play 10 players who didn’t start last night. He can even play his 3rd choice goalie up front. The would still be better than Fred.

    • mikeevergreen - Jul 10, 2014 at 10:39 AM

      You mean better than Fraud.

  5. unclemosesgreen - Jul 10, 2014 at 7:35 AM

    I expect to see Tim Krul, Huntelaar & a bunch of guys I never heard of. Oh, and maybe Dirk Kuyt. He needs a farewell game.

  6. Ian's Rushtache - Jul 10, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    A lot of folks slaying the 3rd place game. Personally I love it, as it is often a better game for neutrals than the final.

    The Croatia Netherlands 3rd place game in 1998 was a ceacker, and without that game being played Davor Suker would not have won the Golden Boot that year.

    • Ian's Rushtache - Jul 10, 2014 at 9:34 AM

      Slating not slaying.

      Stupid phone.

  7. geejon - Jul 10, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    You’re asking players who 2 days ago were playing for a chance to play in the World Cup Final to suddenly play AN EXHIBITION game 48 hours later. That’s insane. The fans don’t really care. The players surely don’t care. Van Persie won’t play. Robben won’t play. It’s a pointless match. If Brazil weren’t playing the stadium would be half empty.

  8. navyeoddavee9 - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    It’s a tough call, Holland and Brazil, in no way want to play this game,but say Costa Rica, fell in the Semi’s, I think they would want to play the game, that’s no slight on CR, the powerhouses, want to go home

  9. mianfr - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    Is Brazil even committed to showing up at all?

  10. b1unt3d - Jul 10, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    “Forty-eight hours of recovery after a match lasting 120 minutes plus penalties?! That’s not just unfair, that’s a health risk.”

    Seriously? I thought these are supposed to be world class athletes. Suck it up.

  11. poryorick - Jul 10, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    Actually, both Oranje and La Albiceleste should be fairly well-rested since the effort they collectively put forth was probably par for a hard training day.

    For the love of the game, bring back the golden goal and force teams to take risks so that the tragedy that was the NEDvARG semi doesn’t happen again.

  12. granadafan - Jul 10, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    It’s all about money for FIFA, not what’s fair to the teams or players.

  13. simonkulberg - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:23 PM

    It`s being played because the football World Cup was originally meant to be the Olympic tournament, and the tradition of three medals comes from that.

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