Article

Van Gaal surprised to be needed at Euro 2016 draw

23 February 2014 15:24

Netherlands head coach Louis van Gaal has questioned the logic of being asked to attend the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying draw.

The 62-year-old is set to depart his position following this year’s FIFA World Cup, but was present on Sunday as the 1988 European champions were drawn in Group A alongside Czech Republic, Turkey, Latvia, Iceland and Kazakhstan.

Asked whether he thought it was strange that he was in Nice for the draw, Van Gaal said: "Yes, that's what I've said as well.

"I told them well in advance that I was going to quit (after the 2014 World Cup), so I was hoping that before the next friendly international it would've been figured out, but unfortunately that's not the case."

The top two teams from each group qualify automatically for the finals in France, and Van Gaal is confident Netherlands will have no problems in making it out of their group.

"History has taught us that most of the time we have beaten these opponents," he added. "The Oranje should be able to qualify for the final tournament automatically."

Latvia boss Marians Pahars echoed those comments, stating his belief that the Netherlands were capable of comfortably winning the group.

Pahars is hopeful that his side can also qualify for the finals, which will feature 24 teams in 2016.

"Netherlands are the favourites in our group - they can win any competition they play in," he remarked. "We will do our best to make our fans happy by making it to the finals."

The best third-placed side will also be guaranteed a place in the finals, while the remaining third-placed teams will enter a round of play-offs.

Recently appointed Czech Republic coach Pavel Vrba added: "Some other groups may look relatively easier, but when I took charge of the national team I said that there is no aim other than to qualify."

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