Sour Grapes: Netherlands Boss Says World Cup Rigged for Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi

It never ceases to amaze me what fans, coaches and players will say when their team loses. Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal is another in a long line of people upset with Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi for winning the World Cup.

Inter Miami's Lionel Messi celebrates winning the 2022 World Cup with his family in Qatar.
Inter Miami's Lionel Messi celebrates winning the 2022 World Cup with his family in Qatar. / ANP/GettyImages

Tell me if you’ve heard this before… a fan or a coach blasts off on a tournament suggesting it was rigged because they didn’t win.

Netherlands national team manager Louis van Gaal has joined a chorus of other fans in suggesting that the 2022 World Cup was rigged so Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi and Argentina would win.

Uh-huh… okay.

Let’s get into it.

What van Gaal Actually Said

It’s no secret that Messi and van Gaal had words when Argentina defeated the Netherlands in the World Cup tournament in 2022.

Not really sure what they said to each other (or if they could actually understand each other as van Gaal speaks Dutch and broken English while Messi speaks Spanish and some English).

But it was clear they weren’t happy with each other.

Van Gaal went a step further when he was recently interviewed by NOS and asked about his reaction to Argentina’s World Cup win.

Now, he didn’t come out and say the tournament was rigged. He only suggested that Argentina players may have gotten away with things that other players would not have under normal circumstances.

Things like stepping over the mark when they took penalty kicks.

He did suggest the game was “premeditated” (which isn’t really the correct use of the word in the first place, but you get the idea of what he was trying to convey).

It’s really no different than what we would expect to come out of Cristiano Ronaldo’s mouth if Portugal actually made an impact in the tournament… which they didn’t.

I mean, seriously? You lost and that’s the end of it. Why does everything that doesn’t go your way have to be some kind of conspiracy theory?

Coming to Messi’s Defense

The remarks were outrageous, to say the least.

It’s good that some former (and current) players came to Messi’s defense quickly.

Take former Messi rival and critic, Patrice Evra:

It’s true. Try to stand in front of thousands of screaming fans with the hopes of your entire country on your back and score, not one, but five penalties.

As a former player, I can tell you it’s hard enough to do it without that kind of pressure.

And I particularly like hearing from van Gaal’s own player, Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk:

That is van Dijk’s way of telling his national team coach to just be quiet, without actually telling him to be quiet.

The comments from van Gaal are nothing more than sour grapes from a national team manager who was beaten by Messi and Argentina on the world stage.

We heard the same thing when Inter Miami made their improbable run to the 2023 Leagues Cup and into the U.S. Open Cup finals.

“It must be scripted.”

“The scriptwriters are busy with this one.”

It’s all rubbish.

Jealous words from jealous people.

Whether you are a national team that isn’t named Argentina or a Major League Soccer club that didn’t sign Messi, you are going to cry when your team loses to Inter Miami and Messi.

It’s unfortunate, but that’s how we are.

Regardless, La Familia stands together and everyone else can take a long walk off a short pier.