'We're here to win World Cup' – Van Gaal says Dutch won't follow Germany protests

Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal in a press conference at Qatar 2022.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal says there will be no protests from his players like the one made by Germany on Wednesday because the Oranje are in Qatar 'to be world champion'.

Germany's players were photographed ahead of their 2-1 defeat against Japan on Wednesday with their hands over their mouths to signal that they would not be silenced after pressure from FIFA to stop the European nations from wearing the OneLove armband.

Netherlands' captain Virgil van Dijk had also been due to wear the armband, which stands for tolerance, diversity and LGBTQ+ rights, until a last-minte U-turn from the six European nations ahead of their opening matches.

In addition to their pre-match gesture, six of Germany's players wore boots with rainbow colours on the front in their game against Japan.

But Hansi Flick's side went on to lose that match and Belgium forward Eden Hazard criticised the Germans. "They would’ve done better if they didn’t do it and tried to win," he told RMC Sport.

At a press conference on Thursday, Van Gaal was asked if he thought Germany's protest may have caused a lack of focus and said: That is the question. I don’t want to run that risk – we’re here to be a world champion.

"We put a full stop behind all the political issues [last] Thursday when we invited the migrants and we have this purpose.

"We are not going to have that tarnished by the actions of FIFA or whichever other organisation."

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