Man Utd defender Tyrell Malacia says he “didn’t agree” with Louis van Gaal trialling him as a centre-back in a recent international match.
The Netherlands made it to the Nations League finals on Sunday when they beat Belgium 1-0 with Malacia coming off the bench at the half-time interval.
Malacia is used to playing at left-back for Man Utd and his country but Van Gaal decided the 23-year-old would play on the left-hand side of a back three against Belgium.
It had been presumed that Daley Blind – who had been playing at left-back – would shift inside to left centre-back when Malacia replaced Nathan Ake at the break.
However, that wasn’t the case with Malacia performed well in a new position, keeping Belgium playmaker Kevin de Bruyne quiet in the second half.
Van Gaal and Malacia exchanged some heated words on the touchline during the match but the Man Utd defender admits he went forward “too much” for his role.
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“I went two or three times too much forward,” Malacia told De Telegraaf.
“That is not possible in this position as quickly. But I was corrected by others.
“I didn’t agree with it at the time, yes. That’s right. After the game we talked about that moment for a while and then it was over.
“I’m comfortable with United at the moment. The national coach thinks that I should also be able to play in the centre of the defence. But I feel best on the left.”
Van Gaal revealed after the match that the idea of playing Malacia at left centre-back was to prepare the Netherlands for the absence of Bruno Martins Indi at the upcoming World Cup.
“I put Malacia in the left centre-back role because Martins Indi is not going to make it to the World Cup squad in time due to injury,” Van Gaal told ESPN NL.
“I have to look at other players who can play there and I wanted to see what Malacia could do, so Ake was substituted.
“The defensive work he did very well, but the constructive work in the build-up could have been a lot better.”
But former Ajax and PSV Eindhoven player Kenneth Perez reckons Malacia – who joined Man Utd in the summer from Feyenoord – should be Van Gaal’s first-choice left-back heading into the World Cup in Qatar.
Perez said earlier this month:”If he continues this and becomes a regular base player for Manchester United, then he is very close to becoming the first left back of the Dutch national team.
“Especially in a three-man defence, where you need someone who is very active and willing in that position [wing-back].”
Germany Exit Qatar Despite 4 – 2 Win Over Costa Rica
The Germans have been knocked out of the World Cup in the group stage for a second consecutive time despite a 4-2 win over Costa Rica on Thursday.
This was after the four-times champions were consigned to third place in the Group E following Japan’s victory over Spain.
Costa Rica deployed a five-man backline but Germany still found a way through in the 10th minute when David Raum made a cross that was headed home by Serge Gnabry.
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This restarted the game quickly fearing goal difference being a factor.
But after learning that Japan were leading Spain in the other group game, Germany appeared to have let their guard down with Costa Rica scoring twice with Yeltsin Tejeda arriving late to score the first before Juan Pablo Vargas bundled a second over the line.
Germany’s Kai Havertz grabbed a brace after coming on as a substitute to seal the three points before Niclas Fuellkrug added a fourth late in the game but the final results left Japan at the top of the group while Spain finished second having scored more goals than Germany.
Ronaldo Misses Portugal Training Ahead Of South Korea Clash
Cristiano Ronaldo did not train with his Portugal teammates on Wednesday ahead of their final World Cup group game against South Korea.
The Portuguese striker, 37, was doing “specific recovery work” according to a source from the Portuguese football federation.
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Ronaldo, without a club since leaving Manchester United during the tournament, scored a penalty in his country’s opening win over Ghana.
Portugal beat Uruguay 2-0 in their second match to qualify for the last 16, with Ronaldo appearing to claim a goal but he did not touch the ball and it was awarded to teammate Bruno Fernandes.
Mexico exit World Cup despite beating Saudi Arabia
Mexico suffered an agonising exit from the World Cup on goal difference on Wednesday despite beating Saudi Arabia 2-1 in a dramatic finale to Group C.
Second-half goals from Henry Martin and Luis Chavez secured victory for Mexico but they finished third behind Poland after Salem Al-Dawsari’s late strike.
Mexico desperately pushed for a third goal in an effort to improve their goal difference as they faced elimination on FIFA fair play rules.
Saudi Arabia’s win over Argentina in their opening match was one of the World Cup’s great upsets, but they crashed back down to earth with a 2-0 loss to Poland in their second game.
Coach Herve Renard urged his players to show that was no flash in the pan and write themselves into Saudi football history by reaching knockout rounds for the first time since 1994.
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Having failed to win either of their first two group games for the first time in 44 years, Mexico knew victory was essential if they were to stand a chance of reaching the last 16 at an eighth successive World Cup.
Mexico boss Gerardo Martino ditched the back five he used in the 2-0 loss to Argentina and brought in Martin to lead the attack.
It almost reaped immediate rewards but Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais raced out to block Alexis Vega after he was slipped in behind the defence by Hirving Lozano.
Al-Owais, one of the heroes of the 2-1 win over Argentina, tentatively palmed away a bouncing cross ahead of a lunging Martin and held weak attempts by Chavez and Orbelin Pineda.
Mohamed Kanno whipped a free-kick just over for Saudi Arabia, who saw defender Ali Al-Bulayhi forced off with injury — adding to their mounting casualty list.
Mexico continued to attack without success and Ali Al-Hassan nearly sent the bulk of the largely Saudi crowd wild late in the first half with a diving header that flashed wide of the far post.
Chavez tested Al-Owais right after the interval and Martin soon broke the deadlock as he turned in from close range following Cesar Montes’ clever flick-on at a corner.
Mexico’s second goal arrived just five minutes later when Chavez sensationally curled a free-kick into the top corner from 30 metres.
Keeping an eye on the score between Argentina and Poland, Mexico pushed relentlessly for a third goal, with Lozano’s effort ruled out for a tight offside.
Martin blazed over when he had a glorious chance and Chavez had another free-kick turned away by Al-Owais, who also sprawled to his right to claw out a drive from Lozano.
Uriel Antuna then had another goal disallowed for offside before Al-Dawsari’s late strike put an end to the drama.
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