Soccer  

World Cup 2022: Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal says event should be held in ‘football countries’

Louis van Gaal at a Netherlands news conference
Louis van Gaal returned for a third spell in charge of the Netherlands in August 2021
Host nation: Qatar Dates: 20 November-18 December Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app. Day-by-day TV listingsFull coverage details

Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal has again questioned the decision to award the World Cup to Qatar, although he has praised the organisation and facilities in the Gulf state.

He believes Qatar is too small to host such a big tournament and does not have enough football heritage.

Van Gaal has previously labelled the decision to host the World Cup in the Arab nation as “ridiculous”.

“You have to play in football countries,” he said.

The 71-year-old van Gaal added: “The aim of Fifa was, at that time, to develop countries and therefore we play here.

“But football countries have more experience with everything and you can also stimulate other countries in another way, the right way.”

The Dutchman revealed some of his friends and family have had problems trying to book accommodation for the tournament, which begins on Sunday.

Qatar has a population of fewer than three million people and the eight World Cup stadiums are only spread over an area the size of West Yorkshire.

“This is also a small country. My family and friends have a lot of difficulties to find a place,” said former Manchester United boss van Gaal.

“But the organisation and the pitches and everything, the facilities, are very good.”

The Netherlands are preparing for their first World Cup for eight years after failing to qualify for the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Van Gaal, who is in his third spell as boss, led the team to third place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and believes they are good enough to lift the trophy this time around – even if other sides have more talented individuals.

“I believe we don’t have the best players on earth in our team, but I believe in team building and in tactics,” he added.

“I believe we can go far, but we also need luck, that is also important. Because of that and because I believe in imagination we could be the world champion at the end of the tournament.”

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