FOOTBALL

Van Persie reveals Van Gaal gave him a slap at 2014 World Cup

Former player Robin van Persie recalled that Holland coach Louis van Gaal smacked him after the game against Costa Rica went into extra-time.

Van Gaal y Van Persie, durante un partido de la fase de clasificación para el Mundial 2014.
PASCAL PAVANI AFP

Robin van Persie has recalled an incident involving Louis van Gaal in which the ex-Holland coach gave him a slap for refusing to be subbed during he team's game against Costa Rica in the 2014 World Cup quarter-finals. The game ended 0-0 on full-time and Van Persie was struck down with cramp after the first 10 minutes of extra-time - something which Van Gaal foresaw happening. The coach had told the player earlier that he had to come off but Van Persie refused, aware that the game might be decided from the penalty spot.

"When extra-time was up we all got together on the touch-line, and all of a sudden he slapped me. Bang! He said to me angrily: "Don't you ever do that again!"" Van Persie remembered in declarations to Voetbal International, taken from "LvG, the coach and the person". Moments later, Van Gaal was encouraging the striker to score his spot-kick. "Now forget about it and make sure you score your penalty", the coach added. Van Persie didn't let Van Gaal or the team down, and fired his effort past Keylor Navas to put the Netherlands ahead in the shoot-out which they went on to win 4-3.