Holland is one of the beautiful stories of world football. Participation in the World Cup Qatar 2022 is no exception. Virgil van Dijk and the rest of the Orange boys are credited among the teams with a chance to fight for the final stages of the competition. The beautiful story of Holland 2022 also means Louis van Gaal, one of the most experienced coaches who will be present at the big ball in November and December. The one nicknamed “the pelican”, for its tendency to open its “big mouth”.
Van Gaal suffers from an aggressive form of prostate cancer
The 71-year-old coach made a shock announcement a few months ago, that he was suffering from an aggressive form of prostate cancer. He didn’t shy away from giving painful details, the fact that he had a catheter so he wouldn’t pee in pants.
Louis van Gaal’s problems started as early as 2021, but at first he did not want to share his suffering with the players. He has already had many irradiated sessions. And despite all these major problems, the manager who won the Champions League with Ajax in 1995 and guided Holland to third place at the 2014 World Cup had an incredible amount of will to carry on. No one would have blamed him if he had stopped for health reasons.
“This group of players is a gift at an older age. Look, you don’t die of prostate cancer. At least not in 90 percent of the cases,” van Gaal said in the interview in which he made the revelations. At first he didn’t want to let the group of players notice anything, then he put the Dutch national team above him. He also did the treatments when he was in the training camp with the team, in the evening and at night, without the players knowing anything.
Two fights for van Gaal
Van Gaal’s battle is now being waged on two fronts, medical and sport. Above all, he wants to drive Holland very high. After winning the bronze medal at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the coach became a national hero. The entire population of Holland is now hoping that the coach can repeat or even surpass that performance in Qatar. And the prospects are good…
The coach’s battle with the disease also sparked a wave of national emotion. “I would never have thought it would have had such an impact. I get emotional, I have tears in my eyes, but it also gives me energy to fight when I see that people care about me,” said the coach. At the same time, van Gaal’s problem united the team even more. The Dutch national team is now in a state of mind, and the players are ready also to make the World Cup unforgettable together. “We hope that van Gaal never forgets this World Cup,” the team’s captain, Virgil van Dijk, also confessed.
The manager is unbeaten since taking over the team from Frank de Boer
With 20 trophies won during spells with Ajax, Barcelona, AZ Alkmaar, Bayern Munich and Manchester United, Louis van Gaal is today one of the most respected coaches in Dutch history. He built his reputation in Amsterdam between 1991 and 1997 when he led the players likes of Kluiverts, Van der Sar, the de Boer brothers, Overmars, Seedorf and Davids to the roof of Europe. He transformed the Ajax of the 90s into a perfect team with total football, played in the 4-3-3 system. Now, he is currently in his third term as coach of the national team, after leading it between 2000-2001 and 2012-2014.
The coach will lead the team into a group with Ecuador, Senegal and host country Qatar. And despite the health problems he has battled over the past year, van Gaal reaches the final tournament unbeaten. He took over the team from Frank De Boer after the Euro 2020, following a disappointment for the fans, elimination in the last 16 against Czech Republic.
Van Gaal has 15 matches in his current lead, with 11 wins and 4 draws. He won with Holland 1st place in the qualifying group with Norway, Turkey, Montenegro, Latvia and Gibraltar, and then also won the UEFA Nations League group with Belgium, Poland and Wales.
Talking at the time of his 2021 appointment as coach, after a five year break, he said: “Dutch football has always been close to my heart. It’s an honor to coach the Dutch national team.” Now his personal goal is to become a world champion and he has already transmitted that to his players. van Gaal’s Netherlands will surely be a story worth listening to and watching at the World Cup in Qatar.