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Holland’s World The Cup team is facing a rash of flu symptoms ahead of Saturday’s match against the US

The Dutch World Cup team is dealing with an outbreak of ‘flu symptoms’ ahead of Saturday’s round of 16 with Team USA in Qatar, and manager Louis van Gaal is admittedly concerned.

The 71-year-old Van Gaal did not elaborate too much, but did confirm that star midfielder Frenkie de Jong is one of the players who are currently suffering from illness.

“We will not go into that further,” Van Gaal said. “But when it gets around in the group, it’s worrying.”

Despite his concerns, Van Gaal explained that “there have not been 15 or so” cases, so “basically everyone is fit and available.”

Strangely enough, the Dutch did not do 11-on-11 exercises during training, but Van Gaal attributed that to rest and not illness.

“I gave them a day’s rest,” he said. ‘In this group they communicate that to me. I listen to my players.’

The Netherlands Is Dealing With An Outbreak Of 'Flu Symptoms' Ahead Of Saturday'S Round Of 16 With Team Usa In Qatar, And Manager Louis Van Gaal (Left) Is Admittedly Concerned

The Netherlands is dealing with an outbreak of ‘flu symptoms’ ahead of Saturday’s round of 16 with Team USA in Qatar, and manager Louis van Gaal (left) is admittedly concerned

The 71-Year-Old Van Gaal Did Not Go Into Too Much Detail, But Did Confirm That Star Midfielder Frenkie De Jong (Pictured) Is One Of The Players Currently Battling Illness.

The 71-Year-Old Van Gaal Did Not Go Into Too Much Detail, But Did Confirm That Star Midfielder Frenkie De Jong (Pictured) Is One Of The Players Currently Battling Illness.

The 71-year-old Van Gaal did not go into too much detail, but did confirm that star midfielder Frenkie de Jong (pictured) is one of the players currently battling illness.

There is no shortage of ties between the American and Dutch squad, including Team USA manager Gregg Berhalter, who played professionally in the Netherlands.

Berhalter said on Friday he felt like a student when he signed for Dutch club Zwolle 28 years ago, but now intends to apply the lessons he learned when the teams face off on Saturday.

“I just went to the Netherlands from university and (was) completely unprepared for professional football,” Berhalter said on Friday. ‘If I hadn’t been in the Netherlands, I don’t think I would have had that building that really contributed to shaping my ideas.’

Now 49, Berhalter will match tactics against van Gaal, the oldest coach in the World Cup. Van Gaal guided the Dutch to third place in the 2014 tournament and won seven national titles with Ajax, AZ Alkmaar, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

Netherlands Frenkie De Jong, Cody Gakpo, Nathan Ake, Tyrell Malacia, Xavi Simons And Wout Weghorst During Training

Netherlands Frenkie De Jong, Cody Gakpo, Nathan Ake, Tyrell Malacia, Xavi Simons And Wout Weghorst During Training

Netherlands Frenkie de Jong, Cody Gakpo, Nathan Ake, Tyrell Malacia, Xavi Simons and Wout Weghorst during training

That success means little to the demanding fan base of Orange.

“If I have to believe the Dutch media, we will never become world champions,” Van Gaal said in Dutch. It was exactly the same in 2014. Extremely negative. Now it’s all the same again. I’m used to it and I think my players are used to it, so we’ll just keep going.’

Then he added playfully in English, “Maybe you can take a picture now after this statement.”

He smiled and said, “Cheese.”

Van Gaal, who is out of contract after the World Cup, shrugged off questions about whether he would coach in Africa or replace Roberto Martinez, who parted ways with Belgium after his team was knocked out on Thursday.

“You have to convince my wife,” he said.

The Netherlands was a losing finalist in 1974, 1978 and 2010 and started this tournament with a 2-0 victory over Senegal, a 1-1 draw with Ecuador and beating Qatar 2-0 in the leading group A.

Gregg Berhalter (Second Row, Center) Played In The Netherlands In The Mid-1990S

Gregg Berhalter (Second Row, Center) Played In The Netherlands In The Mid-1990S

Gregg Berhalter (second row, center) played in the Netherlands in the mid-1990s

Van Gaal’s team has been criticized at home for a perceived lack of attacking flair despite an 18-match unbeaten run.

‘I laugh because there is always criticism in the Netherlands. How many national coaches are there in the Netherlands? Sixteen million. Isn’t that what they say? Seventeen million now?’ Berhalter said. “I think Louis van Gaal has a firm skin. He realizes that it is his job to win victories.’

The Americans have several Dutch ties. The American sporting director Earnie Stewart grew up in the Netherlands, just like the current right back Sergiño Dest.

“It’s going to be fun to play against the country where I was born,” said Dest. “I know almost every man there.”

Dest was teammate of Dutch defender Daley Blind at Ajax before moving to Barcelona and then AC Milan.

“You immediately saw that he was full of talent,” Blind said through an interpreter. “He evolved very quickly.”

Berhalter answered a question in Dutch without translation. He left the University of North Carolina after his junior season to sign with Zwolle in 1994, transferred to Sparta Rotterdam in 1996 and Cambuur Leeuwarden in 1998.

Van Gaal claimed he had no recollection of Sparta upsetting his Ajax team in 1997.

“Because he’s so competitive, he has to remember that game,” Berhalter said with a chuckle.

The US has played against Holland five times, all friendlies. The Americans lost four before rallying late for a 4–3 win in 2015. They have not reached the quarterfinals since 2002, losing in overtime in overtime to Ghana in 2010 and Belgium in 2014.

Berhalter was hired after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

“What I perceive is a vision,” Van Gaal said. “What I see is a team that wants to execute on that vision, which is paramount, and I see the conviction, especially that of the players. So that must be fantastic for a coach.’

Van Gaal’s team is struggling with the flu, just like the Americans last week. The US started their campaign in Qatar with a draw against Wales and England before beating Iran 1-0 on a goal from Christian Pulisic, who had bruised his pelvis but hopes to play on Saturday.

The US has only allowed one goal in the World Cup. Berhalter credited a collective defense and remembered lessons and demanding teammates from his Dutch days.

“Only about spacing and positioning, third man, triangles. There was a striker, an old striker that I played with when I first got there. His name was Remco Boere. He would yell at me for giving him the ball with too much spin,” said Berhalter. “If you ever pass a ball to someone and you wrong-foot them, they start screaming.”

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Jacky

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