Netherlands head coach Louis van Gaal made some interesting comments during a press conference on Thursday. The 71-year-old Dutch coach made claims that his team’s tournament finally begins now, despite playing the USA in the previous round. In fact, his squad already played four games at the 2022 World Cup, but the United States contest was the first in the elimination phase.

Van Gaal initially praised his next opponent Argentina, but then went on to disparage his previous tournament challengers. “Argentina in my view are a top country with top football players in their squad,” the coach stated at the press conference. “The tournament actually is starting tomorrow for real for us.”

“Of course, I don’t want to downplay the importance of other countries we’ve been able to beat, but Argentina and possibly Brazil in the next round are quite different from the countries we’ve played in the groups and in the last 16.”

Dutch head coach previously spoke negatively about the USA at World Cup

The Dutchman also previously made comments about the USMNT not being able to adapt to his team. “Team USA didn’t adjust, they didn’t adapt,’ said van Gaal. “We based a tactical plan on that [targeting the flanks] that probably allowed us to win.”

“In the first half we were dispossessed so much and it was not necessary,’ he continued. “That’s simply not acceptable at a World Cup. If you play top-notch countries, you simply can’t make those mistakes.”

The Netherlands went on to beat the USMNT 3-1. While the scoreline flattered the Dutch, the Americans played fairly well going forward throughout the game. The U.S. failed to capitalize on two massive one-on-one opportunities with the Dutch goalkeeper.

Argentina will certainly be a huge test for van Gaal’s team. Despite losing their opening match of the World Cup, Lionel Messi and company have rattled off three consecutive victories. The big matchup is set for Friday at 2 p.m. ET.