World Cup: Netherlands gamers hit by flu signs

Gamers and coaches on a number of groups have been hampered by flu signs on this World Cup with the Netherlands, which performs the U.S. in a round-of-16 knockout recreation Saturday, the most recent to be hit.

Dutch coach Louis van Gaal confirmed Friday that a number of gamers had been unwell however declined to say what number of. The workforce skipped its regular coaching session Friday though Van Gaal informed Dutch media he expects all 26 gamers on his roster to be obtainable “in principle” for the U.S. recreation. Nevertheless his reluctance to be extra particular led to hypothesis the state of affairs could also be extra critical that Van Gaal would acknowledge.

Brazil, Spain and the U.S. have additionally had members of their delegations change into unwell, with many blaming the air-con in Qatar, which is so omnipresent it’s additionally used to chill the pitches throughout video games. However going from heat outdoors temperatures, which have hovered within the excessive 80s for many of the event, into rooms — and even stadiums — chilled to as a lot as 20 levels cooler, has led to bouts of coughing, sore throats, heavy chests, a scarcity of breath and different illnesses.

Brazilian winger Antony credited the air-con for his well being issues.

“We had it also,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter mentioned. “Almost every staff member had it. I was, the first week or two, really, really bad. Now it’s much better, breathing a lot better.”

Dutch coach: U.S. has ‘an excellent team’

Van Gaal, who took the Netherlands to the World Cup semifinals in 2014 and hasn’t misplaced since returning to the Dutch nationwide workforce 15 months in the past, praised the U.S., his opponent in Saturday’s elimination recreation.

“That is a very energetic squad with physically strong players. And that’s very tough for any opponent,” he mentioned Friday.

“The USA has demonstrated that it has an excellent team,” he added. “I would say it’s one of the best teams.”

Van Gaal famous the U.S. workforce, the second-youngest within the World Cup, contains 17 gamers off European golf equipment, together with all 11 starters in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Iran. The workforce’s progress from non-qualifier in 2018 to the spherical of 16 this 12 months was spectacular, he mentioned.

“They have developed well and quickly,” he mentioned. “That is typically American. They also have players at top European clubs. I am not surprised that they are through. After the first group match, I already expected them to continue.”

Van Gaal additionally praised Berhalter, who realized lots of his teaching philosophies throughout his taking part in days in Holland.

“What I observe is a vision. What I see is a team that is keen to execute that vision, which is of the utmost importance,” he mentioned. “And I see the conviction, especially the conviction of the players. So that for a coach must be fantastic.”

Belgium coach resigns after World Cup loss

The early exit of No. 2 Belgium from the World Cup additionally led to the exit of the workforce’s coach, Roberto Martinez, who Friday introduced he was stepping down after six years. Martinez led Belgium to a third-place end in 2018, its best-ever efficiency on the event.

Belgium gained simply as soon as in three group-play video games in Qatar, getting eradicated within the first spherical for simply the second time since 1982.

The Related Press contributed to this report.