England manager Roy Hodgson may have barred them from accompanying his team but the Dutch believe love conquers all. Little wonder then that Netherlands coach allowed wives and girlfriends to spend time with his players ahead of their resounding 5-1 performance against champions Spain.
File Photo: Dutch striker Arjen Robben is kissed by his wife Bernadien as they attend a party after the UEFA Champions League final football match.
According to a report in UK's The Mirror, Louis van Gaal looked to get the best out of his players on and off the field. "My principle is the overall picture - the total person, the player," he was quoted as saying. (Also see in pics: How football is turning out to be a perfect 'match-maker')
"His brain and his psyche plays a part. And the psyche is influenced by his environment. So on Thursday and this morning, I gave permission for the wives to visit the hotel and so the players could be happy." And the 'happiness' worked brilliantly with Netherlands thrashing Spain at Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador.
Van Gaal though was categorical that having their loved ones by their side was not the only reason for the recent success. Netherlands benefited from a superb and dominant display of football with a 3-5-2 strategy leaving Spain clueless.
"I played this system because I believe that we are not good enough to beat Spain with our normal 4-3-3 formation," Van Gaal had said after the match.
Whether being a shrewd on-field general or an off-field cupid, the Dutch manager is getting his strategies right and would hope they take the team forward in the World Cup. Manchester United will expect him to do the same in the upcoming English Premier League season.