Netherlands Coach Louis van Gaal has rated Spain as the best team in the world, and Spanish football as the best brand of football in the world.
Van Gaal had two spells in charge of Barcelona and at his Press conference to preview the Netherlands’ World Cup opener against Spain tonight, looked back on his time in La Liga.
“It was one of the best periods of my life. Spanish football is better tactically, technically and physically,” the future Manchester United manager said, according to AS.
“I like it because these three things are in tune and I enjoy seeing the focus and dedication of the players and how they do their work.
“Spain are the No.1 and we will have to play very compact without the ball to beat them.”
Van Gaal had been praised by former Barca midfielder Xavi Hernandez and Spain Coach Vicente Del Bosque at their Press conferences and thanked the pair for their kind words.
He also took a swipe at the Dutch media for portraying him as a disciplinarian, and rejected the suggestion that his impending move to United was a distraction.
“It’s that I’m a good person and when you are a good person it is normal to speak well of someone, as I speak of them superbly,” he said regarding the Spain pair.
“[The Press] think I’m strict but I’m funny. I release my players and let them go to the beach with their wives. You can’t be focused on the World Cup for five weeks.
“The World Cup is a tournament for countries and they can’t compete with clubs. I’m totally focused on the Netherlands. Is the contract with United a distraction? Maybe it’s a good distraction.”
Van Gaal also hinted that his side would take a physical approach against La Roja when reflecting on the 2010 final, which saw a number of heavy tackles from the Oranje.
“Physical strength is also part of football and the referee marks the limit. That didn’t happen to Holland in 2010,” van Gaal said.
“Winning depends not only on the tactical and the physical, it also depends on the referee, as we saw [in Brazil’s win over Croatia].”