It was a relaxed morning in Orange, the day after a 2-0 group win over Senegal. National coach Louis van Gaal let out a cheery atmosphere on the edge of the training ground, complete with women, friends and children.
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Louis van Gaal was no different in 2014, back then mostly at the Players Hotel on Rio de Janeiro beach. Until then, the national coach seized every moment to open the doors of the Orange to the family and friends of the players, sometimes even on match day.
It’s a way to provide some balance for a long and tough tournament, this time mostly in the St Regis Hotel for the Dutch national team players. Players are almost constantly within those walls, for five weeks at best.
And so it was this morning that children, women and friends teemed on the edge of the training ground in Doha. Memphis Depay was greeted by a group of friends and his mother in abundance. National coach Van Gaal himself had an interesting and lively conversation with the family of Frenkie de Jong and his girlfriend Mickey. Before that, Captain Virgil van Dijk used to play soccer with his kids.
It gave a comfortable and familiar image, the morning after the important 2-0 win over Senegal. Truss reached out to the players, the players’ wives, and other acquaintances. Toddlers and preschoolers were walking around at ease. Former international Wesley Sneijder also took a look, as did Qatar’s ambassador and analyst Ronald de Boer. National and international press cameras gratefully captured it all.
Not every player actually had a family from the Netherlands. Well-loved goalkeeper and champion Andries Noppert has previously stated that it just doesn’t fit into his budget: the family comes to expensive Qatar for weeks. Other players’ family members sometimes arrive later, for a shorter period of time.
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There was also time for training on Tuesday. The players, who didn’t play against Senegal, worked hard. Van Gaal was again convincing as usual, aiming to keep all his players fit and on their toes, especially so soon after matches. The training ended with a fierce game between the reserves, with striker Wout Weghorst once again getting fanatic as always with these types of training.
Meanwhile, the core team relaxed on exercise bikes in the shade. Starting tomorrow, the Orange team will resume its preparations for the match against Ecuador next Friday.
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