Sao Paulo: Dutch boss Louis Van Gaal expects a big challenge from Argentina’s talisman Lionel Messi ahead of Wednesday’s semifinal duel. He said the Netherlands had a plan to stop Argentina instead of only superstar as an individual.
“If he (Messi) was voted as the best player in the world, it does not come for nothing. He scored a lot of goals in the club,” Van Gaal said at a new conference here Tuesday, reports Xinhua.
“But he’s always found it difficult to do that at international level and he wants to change that at this World Cup.”
“We want to stop Messi. It will be a big challenge,” the coach added.
The 27-year-old Barcelona star has scored four goals en route to lead Argentina to finish on top of Group F and also sent the crucial assist for Angle di Maria’s extra-time winner in the last-16 match against Switzerland.
Despite of Messi’s eye-catching performance in Brazil, Van Gaal insisted it would be dangerous if too much attention were paid merely on Messi.
“We are playing against Argentina,” the 62-year-old said. “We’re preparing a strategy for a team, not for individual players, so I’ll be ready for Argentina and their players.”