Van Gaal guards against complacency
Having been beaten three times in football's biggest competition, the Netherlands are aiming to go one better in Brazil.
Standing in their way on Saturday will be a Costa Rica side who have enjoyed an unlikely run to the quarter-finals.
Jorge Luis Pinto's side stunned the tournament by topping a group also containing Uruguay, Italy and England, before going on to show their grit by beating Greece on penalties after playing 90 minutes with 10 men.
And the CONCACAF nation's efforts have not escaped the attention of Van Gaal, who has told his troops to proceed with caution.
"Our goal has always become world champions. We are a team that is very difficult to beat. We are not a fantastic team but we are a team that is very difficult to beat," he said.
"We should not underestimate Costa Rica. It is going to be a very tough match. They got through with a lot of passion and belief and faith. We should not take them too lightly."
Hampering the Netherlands will be the absence of Nigel de Jong, who will miss the remainder of the tournament having been withdrawn early in the second-round match against Mexico with a groin injury.
Van Gaal added: "Nigel is a very important player and an important element of initial pressure. It's very difficult to find a replacement because he has characteristics the others don't have."