Virgil van Dijk doesn’t believe 2022 World Cup was fixed by FIFA… after his ex-manager Louis van Gaal suggested otherwise.
Van Gaal, who coached the Netherlands at the tournament in Qatar, raised eyebrows by suggesting the World Cup was fixed so Lionel Messi and Argentina would be victorious.
Argentina defeated the Netherlands on penalties in their quarter-final.
Messi scored twice in the final to help his country beat France 4-2 on penalties at Lusail Stadium.
Before then, the 36-year-old shone as they beat Netherlands, who were then managed by Van Gaal, in the quarter-final. Messi scored in normal time before guiding his country to a 4-3 win on penalties.
Louis van Gaal, has claimed that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar was rigged in order to help Lionel Messi finally lift the trophy.
The former coach who left the role shortly after, believes that the tournament was rigged so that Messi could finally win the trophy that had always eluded him.
“When you see how Argentina gets the goals and how we get the goals, and how some Argentina players overstepped the mark and were not punished, then I think it was all a premeditated game,” he told Dutch outlet, NOS.
Van Gaal stepped down from his role with the Netherlands after their World Cup exit, with Ronald Koeman returning to the hot seat.
Reacting, Van Dijk, who played in that game, was asked for his opinion on the matter ahead of the upcoming international fixtures. The Netherlands take on Greece and the Republic of Ireland over the next week, as their Euro 2024 qualification bid continues.
While Van Dijk accepts that “everyone is allowed to have an opinion”, he doesn’t agree with his former manager.
“I heard it this morning, indeed,” Van Dijk told Dutch outlet NOS when asked about Van Gaal’s allegations. “And that’s actually it. It is of course his opinion. Everyone is allowed to have an opinion. I do not share the same opinion.”
Van Gaal made his claim while speaking at an awards ceremony the previous evening. The former Manchester United manager suggested that refereeing decisions went against the Dutch in that quarter-final and thinks the result was “premeditated”.
When pressed on his comments, Van Gaal added: “I mean everything I say. That Messi should become world champion? I think so, yes.”
Argentina were awarded a penalty when Marcos Acuna went down following a soft challenge from Denzel Dumfries. Messi converted it to leave most fans assuming the game was done.
Argentina then won on penalties to go through. The game was marred by controversy, with referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz issuing 16 yellow cards to players (including two to Dumfries). Mateu Lahoz was sent home from the tournament after that game.
Messi also clashed with Weghorst after the tie, telling the Dutchman: “What are you looking at bobo (fool)? Get back there.”