World Cup 2022: Netherlands' Louis van Gaal hasn't lost a tournament match in 90 minutes since 2001

Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal speaks to the media at the World Cup in Qatar.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal comes into World Cup 2022 with the most incredible record of any manager.

The Dutch are unbeaten in competitive football in 90 minutes under the Iron Tulip, having lost in 2014's World Cup on penalties to Argentina. In fact, the last time that Van Gaal tasted defeat in a match that meant anything, the Republic of Ireland beat the Oranje in 2001. 

That's over 20 years. Since then, LVG has gone back to coach Barcelona in a second spell, won titles at AZ Alkmaar and Bayern Munich before his stint as Manchester United manager, taken Netherlands to a World Cup semi-final in Brazil, retired from the game and then reversed that decision to lead his nation once more in Qatar. 

Louis van Gaal

It's been quite the career for Louis van Gaal – and an incredible record at international level (Image credit: PA)

Cody Gakpo opened the scoring after just five minutes and four seconds to net the earliest goal of World Cup 2022 so far. The Dutch No.8, linked with a plethora of Premier League giants latched onto a ball from Davy Klaassen after a hood up field from Manchester City defender Nathan Ake. 

In scoring, Gakpo became the first player in the tournament to have scored in two separate games at the tournament. With Senegal trouncing Qatar 3-1 in the earlier game in Group A – and with Gakpo now having scored two goals in the competition – there’s a genuine chance of the PSV starlet racking up his tally against hosts Qatar in the final group grame to put himself firmly in the frame for the Golden Boot before Enner Valencia edged ahead, scoring his third of the competition when he equalised against the Dutch.

This was a Dutch side without two starters, too, in Matthijs de Ligt and Memphis Depay – for two vastly different reasons. Ismaila Sarr of Watford ran De Ligt ragged in the Dutch’s opening fixture against Senegal before Gakpo found the breakthrough once more. The Bayern Munich centre-back found himself dropped for the younger Jurrien Timber – another product of Ajax’s famed academy – while Barcelona frontman Memphis Depay was only deemed fit enough to take part for 45 minutes of this fixture. 

Sure enough, Memphis – the Oranje’s second-highest scorer of all time behind former Arsenal and Manchester United striker Robin van Persie – arrived for the second 45 as a half-time substitute. 

The winner of the Netherlands’ and Ecuador’s Group A will face the runner-up of England’s and Wales’ Group B in the last-16 round of the World Cup. 

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Mark White
Staff Writer

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.