Former World Cup-winning captain criticises 'magician' van Gaal

Louis Van Gaal

Ex-Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro has criticised Louis van Gaal’s choice to bring on Tim Krul for the Netherlands’ penalty shootout triumph over Costa Rica.

Louis van Gaal has never been one to shy away from making bold decisions, something he proved in front of a global audience at the weekend.

The Netherlands boss made the audacious choice to replace goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen with Tim Krul for the Oranje’s penalty shootout against Costa Rica on Saturday evening.

And the unanticipated move proved an inspired one. Krul famously beat away two of Los Ticos’ spot-kicks, sending the Dutch through to the World Cup semi-finals on penalties after 120 minutes of scoreless football.

Van Gaal has since been hailed as a visionary for the success of his unconventional substitution, now two wins away from leading Holland to their first Jules Rimet Trophy.

But one man who himself has lifted football’s most coveted piece of silverware has been left less than impressed with the 62-year-old’s hauling off of Cillessen in favour of Krul.

Former Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro - a driving force behind the Azzurri's 2006 World Cup win - expressed disdain for the decision.

He told Globo Esporte: “I know everyone is treating van Gaal like a legend or a magician for that change, but to be honest, it’s not something I like very much.

“It’s disrespectful to the goalkeeper. Who will be the goalkeeper in the next game?

“Imagine going in goal for the next match and realizing you do not have the 100 per cent faith of the coach.”

Van Gaal has, in fact, already answered Cannavaro’s question. The Dutchman wasted no time in confirming that Cillessen will start Holland’s semi-final date with Argentina.

How the Ajax shot stopper will react when he takes the gloves against the Albiceleste remains to be seen, but for now van Gaal remains a vindicated man knocking on the door of history.

Guiding the Netherlands to World Cup glory for the first time would be nothing short of the perfect send-off from international football for van Gaal as he gets set to take over at Manchester United.

And if his Oranje side can brush past Argentina with Cillessen in goal on Wednesday, perhaps van Gaal will win over a critical Cannavaro.

The inbound United boss may yet have more tricks up his sleeve at this World Cup, looking as prepared as ever to do whatever he deems necessary to come out on top.

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