Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal shown at a press conference ahead of his team's World Cup semi-final match with Argentina on Wednesday. Koen van Weel / EPA / July 8, 2014
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal shown at a press conference ahead of his team's World Cup semi-final match with Argentina on Wednesday. Koen van Weel / EPA / July 8, 2014

Louis van Gaal: ‘We’re playing Argentina’ not Messi



The Netherlands will need to do more than simply muzzle Argentina’s Lionel Messi if they are to prevail in Wednesday’s World Cup semi-final, according to coach Louis van Gaal.

With four goals and some show-stopping displays to his name, Messi is emerging as the player of the tournament, but van Gaal says that it would be dangerous to expend too much energy worrying about him.

“We are playing against Argentina,” he told Tuesday’s pre-match press conference in Sao Paulo.

“We’re preparing a strategy for a team, not individual players, so I’ll be ready for Argentina and their players.

“Messi has been elected the best player in the world. There’s a reason for that. If you score so many goals, you have an added value.

“But on the most important stage, he hasn’t always pulled it off. He’s always found it difficult to do that at international level and he wants to change that at this tournament.

“We want to stop him, so that’s going to be quite a challenge.”

While two-time winners Argentina are bidding to reach their first final since 1990, Holland are aiming to appear in the deciding match for the second time in a row, having lost 1-0 to Spain in the 2010 final.

Both teams won all three of their group-phase matches before each pulling off a pair of narrow wins in the knockout stage, and van Gaal says that there is very little between them.

“I don’t think there’s a favourite,” said the 62-year-old, who will take over as manager of English giants Manchester United after the tournament.

“In the semi-finals, the countries are at the same level. The results have reflected that in the quarter-finals and the last 16, so I’d say it’ll be a 50-50 match.

“We’ll need a bit of luck. The coin has to fall your way.”

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COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

DUBAI BLING: EPISODE 1

Creator: Netflix

Stars: Kris Fade, Ebraheem Al Samadi, Zeina Khoury

Rating: 2/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Winners

Best Men's Player of the Year: Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

Maradona Award for Best Goal Scorer of the Year: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

TikTok Fans’ Player of the Year: Robert Lewandowski

Top Goal Scorer of All Time: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)

Best Women's Player of the Year: Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)

Best Men's Club of the Year: Chelsea

Best Women's Club of the Year: Barcelona

Best Defender of the Year: Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus/Italy)

Best Goalkeeper of the Year: Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG/Italy)

Best Coach of the Year: Roberto Mancini (Italy)

Best National Team of the Year: Italy

Best Agent of the Year: Federico Pastorello

Best Sporting Director of the Year: Txiki Begiristain (Manchester City)

Player Career Award: Ronaldinho

Getting there

Etihad Airways flies daily to the Maldives from Abu Dhabi. The journey takes four hours and return fares start from Dh3,995. Opt for the 3am flight and you’ll land at 6am, giving you the entire day to adjust to island time.  

Round trip speedboat transfers to the resort are bookable via Anantara and cost $265 per person.  

What is cystic fibrosis?
  • Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects the lungs, pancreas and other organs.
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  • Life expectancy for sufferers of cystic fibrosis is now around 50 years.
MANDOOB

Director: Ali Kalthami

Starring: Mohammed Dokhei, Sarah Taibah, Hajar Alshammari

Rating: 4/5

ABU DHABI ORDER OF PLAY

Starting at 10am:

Daria Kasatkina v Qiang Wang

Veronika Kudermetova v Annet Kontaveit (10)

Maria Sakkari (9) v Anastasia Potapova

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Ons Jabeur (15)

Donna Vekic (16) v Bernarda Pera 

Ekaterina Alexandrova v Zarina Diyas

Soldier F

“I was in complete disgust at the fact that only one person was to be charged for Bloody Sunday.

“Somebody later said to me, 'you just watch - they'll drop the charge against him'. And sure enough, the charges against Soldier F would go on to be dropped.

“It's pretty hard to think that 50 years on, the State is still covering up for what happened on Bloody Sunday.”

Jimmy Duddy, nephew of John Johnson

Company profile

Company name: Twig Solutions (with trade name Twig)
Started: 2021
Founders: Chafic Idriss, Karam El Dik and Rayan Antonios
Based: UAE
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: bootstrapped (undisclosed)
Current number of staff: 13
Investment stage: pre-seed — closing the round as we speak
Investors: senior executives from the GCC financial services industry and global family offices

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat 

Indoor cricket in a nutshell

Indoor Cricket World Cup - Sep 16-20, Insportz, Dubai

16 Indoor cricket matches are 16 overs per side

8 There are eight players per team

9 There have been nine Indoor Cricket World Cups for men. Australia have won every one.

5 Five runs are deducted from the score when a wickets falls

4 Batsmen bat in pairs, facing four overs per partnership

Scoring In indoor cricket, runs are scored by way of both physical and bonus runs. Physical runs are scored by both batsmen completing a run from one crease to the other. Bonus runs are scored when the ball hits a net in different zones, but only when at least one physical run is score.

Zones

A Front net, behind the striker and wicketkeeper: 0 runs

B Side nets, between the striker and halfway down the pitch: 1 run

C Side nets between halfway and the bowlers end: 2 runs

D Back net: 4 runs on the bounce, 6 runs on the full

Where to buy and try:

Nutritional yeast

DesertCart

Organic Foods & Café

Bulletproof coffee

Wild & The Moon

Amasake

Comptoir 102

DesertCart

Organic Foods & Café

Charcoal drinks and dishes

Various juice bars, including Comptoir 102

Bridgewater Tavern

3 Fils

Jackfruit

Supermarkets across the UAE

POSSIBLE ENGLAND EURO 2020 SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope, Dean Henderson.
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Trippier, Joe Gomez, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings, Ben Chilwell, Fabian Delph.
Midfielders: Declan Rice, Harry Winks, Jordan Henderson, Ross Barkley, Mason Mount, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Forwards: Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi.


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