“I called them also first after my appointment,” van Gaal said at Zeist, before leaving for Schiphol. “I tried to stay with himself as much as possible.”
The system Orange uses in Norway has been kept a secret. Van Gaal answered a question about 4-3-3 or 5-3-2: “That’s knowledge for me and a question for you.” “I don’t answer. I wouldn’t (Ståle, editor) Solbakken, my fellow Norwegian, any wiser than he already is.”
Van Gaal was also silent about his first goalkeeper, who had Tim Kroll (Norwich City), Justin Bello (Feyenoord) and Joel Drumel. “I won’t reveal it. Something like that is crucial, for example to Erling Haaland (Norway striker, editor).”
Slightly injured Memphis Depay trained fully again on Tuesday, but nonetheless it was still a “little question mark,” explained Van Gaal, who raised an eyebrow from smoke. Something Solbakken did, perhaps unconsciously, recently, too. “Because he’s played on three different systems in recent months, so we don’t know what he’s going to do.”
This causes Van Gaal and his crew to overtime, as he wants to give his players all the information available in the lead-up to the match. “It’s actually a lot of good stuff. Especially if you only have a couple of days.”
Van Gaal trained with all 25 of his players on Tuesday morning. So Depay was also present. The FC Barcelona striker, who was still good for the goal in the victory over Getafe (2-1), did not appear at the training ground in Zeist on Monday. Then he trained in the gym.
The Norwegians are not yet a regular guest at the World Cup and European Championships, but they have a potential outlet to kill Orange with Erling Haaland.
The 70-year-old’s mission is clear. He should bring the Dutch national team to the World Cup in Qatar.
The result of the duel with Norway will say a lot about the chances of Orange participating in the World Cup in Qatar at the end of next year. The Netherlands is not in a good position, with a one-point shortfall behind Turkey and as many points as Norway and Montenegro. Only the winner of the group qualifies directly, the number 2 is waiting for a tough qualifier.
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