Netherlands boss Louis Van Gaal has accused FIFA of giving Brazil an advantage by making the hosts play their final group match after Group B has been decided.
Van Gaal suggests that FIFA allowed Brazil to work out who they'd face in the last 16 before they played their match against Cameroon.
Both Netherlands and Brazil won their last group match meaning they will avoid each other in the knockout rounds and would only meet if they both reached the final.
Before their match against Chile, Van Gaal suggested that FIFA manipulated the fixtures giving Brazil an unfair advantage.
“FIFA plays these tricks and it’s not a good thing. It’s not fair play. We’re going to focus on a victory against Chile and I don’t think that will be affected by the fact Brazil will play after us.
I am just assuming they (Brazil) will do their sporting duty. Why on earth are they (FIFA) doing that (with the match schedule)? That is the question,” he said.
Brazil knew before their kick-off that a win would probably see them top the group meaning they avoid playing Netherlands and meet Chile in the last 16. Despite eventually winning 4-1, it was nervy at times for Brazil as they heard news of Mexico being 3-0 up at one point meaning they were close to being piped as group winners on goal difference.
When Fernandinho scored Brazil's fourth goal, the goal that cemented top spot, you could see in the Brazilian celebrations that they were delighted to have finished first and avoided Netherlands.
It does seem strange that FIFA decided to have Group B finishing before Group A meaning Brazil could practically 'choose' their last 16 opposition. However, when you consider the timings of the match in Brazil, you can understand why FIFA didn't want the hosts playing an important match at 1300hrs when locals would still be at work.
Also, FIFA scheduling means that it isn't just Group A and Group B that are being played out of order. Group D will play before Group C and Group F will play before Group E.
There will no doubt be a subtle reason behind these petulant comments from Van Gaal. A manager as wily as him is too experienced to let scheduling issues affect him. Four more wins for his Netherlands side and they win the World Cup regardless of any ‘tricks’ FIFA may or may not be playing.
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