SAO PAULO, June 23: Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal Sunday accused FIFA of playing “tricks” with the World Cup schedule and said it had given an edge to hosts Brazil.
Van Gaal called it “ridiculous” that Brazil, who had their two previous Group A games before the Netherlands in Group B, would now play after his team face Chile on Monday.
He was concerned that Brazil would have an advantage because by the time they play Cameroon, a few hours later, they will know where the Netherlands have finished in Group B.
“FIFA after every match they have this publicity round, ‘Fair Play’ and things like that. Then FIFA plays these tricks — it’s not good, of course,” said Van Gaal.
The top team from Group A, currently led by Brazil, will face the second-placed side in Group B, and vice versa, in next week’s last-16 knock-out round.
Five-time winners Brazil and 2010 runners-up the Netherlands are both seen as potential champions and would prefer to avoid each other in the next round.
Van Gaal was referring to world body FIFA’s Fair Play campaign which emphasises “the positive benefits of playing by the rules, using common sense and respecting fellow players”, according to its website.
“We’re going to focus on a victory tomorrow against Chile and I don’t think that will be affected by the fact that Brazil will be playing after us,” Van Gaal told media in Sao Paulo.
“I’m just assuming they (Brazil) will do their sporting duty — but then again it’s always a matter of discussion if you do that. So why are they (FIFA) doing that? I think it’s a justified question.”
Van Gaal also questioned the selection of World Cup debutant referee Bakary Gassama, 35, of Gambia for Monday’s game.
He complained that two penalty decisions against his side were “unfair”, the first in the 5-1 win over Spain and the second in the 3-2 victory over Australia, and said he hopes Gassama will come up to scratch.
“I’ve never seen this referee at work. I’m just going to assume that FIFA has selected excellent referees,” Van Gaal said.
He added: “It’s unbelievable what my players have had to do. To be behind on two decisions, because of two penalties that were unfair.
“There’s no country that has experienced something like that, so perhaps this referee will do a better job. I’m just hoping that FIFA has carried out a good selection procedure.”
In the first incident, Spain’s Diega Costa went down despite no contact by Stefan De Vrij and in the second, Daryl Janmaat was penalised for a clear handball, although it was unintentional.
Earlier, Van Gaal blasted his own country’s media for leaking details of a closed training session.
“If we have a closed training session, somehow or other Dutch media find out about something and I don’t like it because it doesn’t help, it works against us,” he told reporters.