Louis van Gaal will ask his players for one final leaving present on Saturday, as they bid to become the first Netherlands side to go undefeated at a World Cup outside of penalties.
Set to depart for Manchester United following the tournament, van Gaal’s hopes of guiding the Oranje to their first title were ended on Wednesday, when they suffered shootout defeat at the hands of Argentina.
With the third-place play-off against Brazil still to play, however, the manager does not want to his team to treat the match as a procession and has stressed that the hosts will be in for a competitive battle.
‘It’s going to be part of my speech that it will be my last match and I hope the players want to give me a present in the form of a victory, so that we remain undefeated,’ he said.
‘Slowly but surely we are realising that we have to go for it. A Dutch team has never returned home unbeaten and that is now our aim.
‘There is still something for us to do. We can still write history because the Netherlands lost matches in 1974 and 1978.'
The Dutchman did admit though that the squad are still reeling from the pain of their semi-final loss, having seen the final within touching distance.
‘It was very, very sad and a dream has been broken. It’s not going to come back because it was all about being number one,’ he added. ‘Everything is disappointing. I’m disappointed because we came here with only one objective and we had the confidence that we could achieve it.’
Replacing Bert van Marwijk in the wake of Euro 2012, van Gaal is in his second spell as Netherlands manager, having previously been in charge for the side’s ill-fated 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign, when they failed to even make it to Japan and South Korea.
The 62-year-old is better known however for his widely hailed Champions League win with Ajax in 1995, as well for claiming back-to-back La Liga titles with Barcelona in 1997-98 and 1998-99.
Signing a three-year deal in May to replace David Moyes, the ex-Bayern Munich coach set to join up with his current national team captain Robin van Persie at Old Trafford, with the squad already bolstered by the summer additions of Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera for a combined £56 million.