The veteran boss - who saw his Netherlands side lose on penalties to Argentina in the quarter-finals - has suggested that officials were on Messi and Argentina’s side

Louis van Gaal thinks the tournament was rigged in Messi's favour

Louis van Gaal thinks the tournament was rigged in Messi’s favour

Legendary Dutch boss Louis van Gaal suspects the Qatar World Cup was fixed in favour of Lionel Messi and Argentina.

Van Gaal, 72, was in charge of the Netherlands side which lost to the eventual winners in the quarter-finals, with Argentina prevailing on penalties after a thrilling 2-2 draw at Doha’s Lusail Stadium.

A tempestuous match saw Argentina take a two-goal lead through Nahuel Molina’s strike and Messi’s penalty, which arrived with just 17 minutes left on the clock.

However, in one of the most dramatic storylines of the tournament, the Dutch hit back through a brace from Wout Weghorst, whose second goal arrived 11 minutes into injury-time during the hotly-contested affair.

Sixteen yellow cards were issued during the game, with Dutch right-back Denzel Dumfries sent off in the closing moments of extra-time, after which spot-kick misses from Virgil van Dijk and Steven Berghuis helped Argentina win in a penalty shootout.

They would also prevail on penalties in the World Cup final against France, a thrilling affair in which Messi scored twice and Kylian Mbappe grabbed a hat-trick, and Van Gaal has alleged that they were given a helping hand in doing so.

Argentina got the better of the Dutch on penalties Argentina got the better of the Dutch on penalties (



Speaking at the Eredivisie awards on Tuesday night, the former Manchester United boss told Dutch outlet NOS: “‘I don’t really want to say much about it. When you see how Argentina gets the goals and how we get the goals, and how some Argentina players overstepped the mark and were not punished, then I think it all premeditated game.”

The veteran boss was then asked to elaborate on his remarks, and said: “I mean everything I say. That Messi should become world champion? I think so, yes.”

Van Gaal was speaking at the Eredivisie awards on Tuesday Van Gaal was speaking at the Eredivisie awards on Tuesday (


Ramon van Flymen/ANP/AFP via Get)

Van Gaal stepped down from his role as Dutch boss after the tournament, having previously revealed that he was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, for which he had an operation last year.

Giving reporters an update on his condition, he said that he had been under the knife again and was under doctor’s orders to rest.

“It’s still the same thing,” he said. “I had another operation on August 9 and complications arose. I won’t bore you with what happened. But things are looking nice now.

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“I have to rest until September 19. Then we will see whether the operation has achieved its goal.

“I generally feel good. So it is not that I do not feel well, it is more that I am not fit and pant when I climb stairs. Two years ago that was not possible and now it is.”

Ronald Koeman replaced Van Gaal as Dutch manager after the tournament.