SAO PAULO: Louis Van Gaal wants Dutch children to be allowed to stay up past their bedtime to watch the semi-final against Argentina here in Sao Paulo.

Holland’s coach was responding to a question from a children’s television channel which claimed a major debate after domestic unrest during Saturday’s quarter-final against Costa Rica which ran on to exra time and then penalties.

Many managers might have sought refuge in a diplomatic dismissal of responsibiliy but not Van Gaal which suggested he has every confidence in his team’s ability to reach a fourth World Cup Final.

Van Gaal said: “I would always allow my children to watch the match because this is unique. Just look at the impact of the World Cup at a global level and, anyway, most children are on holiday so I don’t think we should deprive them of that.

Even prospect 

“Otherwise, they won’t sleep anyway because they will be too tense and stressed so I would advise parents to allow their children to watch the match.”

Van Gaal was not prepared to say outright that either side could be considered favourites win. He said: “By the time of the semi-final the countries are at the same level, the results have been close in both the quarter-final and the round of 16 so I would say it’s a 50-5 match. We just need a little bit of luck.”

The Dutch have had one day less than Argentina to prepare for the semi-final which is why, said Van Gaal, he had ordered a closed training session so he could assess and discuss the players’ recovery levels.

Now he felt confident to report that his players were all “fresh and in good shape.”