AL RAYYAN, Qatar -- Louis van Gaal branded Netherlands' first half performance against the United States as "unacceptable" despite booking their place in the World Cup quarterfinals with a 3-1 win.
Van Gaal's team went in at half-time 2-0 up thanks to goals from Memphis Depay and Daley Blind, but the 71-year-old was not happy with the overall display in the first 45 minutes and warned that if it is repeated against higher quality opposition, they will be knocked out.
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"I was very critical at half-time in my analysis despite that we were in the lead 2-0," said Van Gaal.
"I think they were fantastic goals and one of these goals was really a team goal. However, in the first half we suffered so much, we were dispossessed so often and it is not necessary.
"That is not acceptable in a World Cup if you play top countries. In the second half we made a much better job even though we scored fewer goals."
Netherlands' victory -- their first World Cup knockout win since finishing third under Van Gaal in 2014 -- sets up a quarterfinal clash with either Argentina or Australia.
Van Gaal insisted afterward it was a performance that would give his players confidence ahead of the last eight and reiterated his claim that his players are good enough to leave Qatar as world champions.
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"We are very, very pleased," he added.
"I don't expect France, Argentina or Spain are going to adapt to the Netherlands but I think we have big chances here.
"I have been talking for a year that we can become world champions, not that we will but we can. I am talking about team building and I derive pleasure from the group of players and performance and results."