Louis van Gaal refuses to rule out taking a vacant Belgium job after the World Cup | WC 2022

Louis van Gaal insists he is not looking past the World Cup before the Netherlands’ showdown with the United States in the last 16, but he did little on Friday to downplay the possibility of a post-tournament switch to Belgium.

The Dutch manager faced more questions about his future than Saturday’s game during a press conference, refusing to rule out taking the position vacated by Roberto Martínez on Thursday after Belgium’s shock exit from the group stage.

“We want to be world champions, so we have four more games ahead of us and then we’ll see if there are any offers on the table,” Van Gaal said through a translator. “If we become world champions, everyone is so opportunistic in this world of football that there will be offers. I know that well.

“But at the moment we are not world champions. And if I am to believe the Dutch media, we will never be world champions.”

Van Gaal further acknowledged the rumblings that have linked him to the position, saying: “Belgium is a wonderful country with very friendly people – [Knokke-Heist] is a fantastic beach town – so yes, I’ve thought about it.”

Pressed to elaborate on what it would take for him to take the job, Van Gaal said the Belgian FA had to persuade his wife, Truus, to close the deal.

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This is a World Cup like no other. For the past 12 years, the Guardian has reported on the issues surrounding Qatar 2022, from corruption and human rights abuses to the treatment of migrant workers and discriminatory laws. The best of our journalism is brought together on our dedicated Qatar: Beyond the Football website for those who want to delve deeper into the issues off the pitch.

Guardian reporting goes far beyond what happens on the pitch. Support our investigative journalism today.

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“You have to convince Truus,” Van Gaal said. “All kidding aside, I’m always free to make my own decisions, but there are certain countries I don’t want to move to, and my wife, Truus, certainly doesn’t want to move to.”

The speculation did not end with Belgium. Asked whether taking the reins of an African side would pass muster with his wife, Van Gaal left the door open: “I don’t think so, but you have to keep the options open.”

The 71-year-old Van Gaal, who was recently treated for prostate cancer, is the oldest coach at the Qatar World Cup, having come out of retirement for a third spell at the helm of the Oranje following their defeat by the Czech Republic in the last 16 at last year’s European Championship .

The team are 18 games unbeaten since then, having conceded 14 times, making him an in-demand figure, with Ronald Koeman confirmed as his successor. But for all the talk on Friday about his future, Van Gaal insisted his eyes were fixed on the present.

“The USA have shown that they have an excellent team, I would say even one of the best teams,” Van Gaal said. – It’s going to be a very tough game, but it’s nothing we can’t overcome. We also have a good team.”

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