Netherlands centurion Dirk Kuyt hailed Louis van Gaal as the most tactically adept coach in the game after he masterminded the comeback against Mexico that saw the Dutch into the FIFA World Cup™ quarter-finals.
Kuyt played in three positions throughout the 90 minutes on his 100th appearance for his country, starting in an unfamiliar role at left-back before moving to right-back and eventually up front as the Netherlands played catch-up after Giovani dos Santos had scored for Mexico.
"He's maybe the best tactically there is in the world," said the 33-year-old former Liverpool striker, who is now with Fenerbahce in Turkey.
"It doesn't matter what system we are playing, the players know exactly what to do. He told us before the game already that we could switch system if we were 1-0 down.
He's maybe the best tactically there is in the world.
"We switched to 4-3-3, then 15 minutes before the end of the game he decided to put an extra striker to play longer balls and look for second balls, and we managed to score a goal so his tactics were once again spot on."
Van Gaal's changes paid dividends as Wesley Sneijder equalised two minutes from time before Klaas-Jan Huntelaar converted a stoppage-time penalty to seal his side's place in the last eight.
"The players showed they had faith and belief until the very end," said the newly-appointed Manchester United manager. "The humidity was not in our favour so when you see that until the very last minute we were fresher and fitter than the Mexicans, that is a big compliment to my players.
"Not only did they have belief but physically they prepared so well to play this match. That, of course, gives us enormous confidence going forward."