Football: Dutch World Cup woes deepen after coach van Gaal slips and hurts hip

Coach Louis van Gaal had fallen and injured his hip. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

THE HAGUE (AFP) - The Dutch campaign to qualify for next year's World Cup suffered another blow after coach Louis van Gaal fell and injured his hip, the Dutch media reported on Monday (Nov 15).

The 70-year-old cycled to his hotel after a training session ahead of the team's crucial qualifier against Norway on Tuesday when the accident happened.

"Van Gaal was parking his bicycle at the hotel when he slipped and landed on his hip," the De Telegraaf daily tabloid said.

"A visit to the hospital confirmed he did not need surgery," the paper said, but a Royal Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) official told the paper that "Louis can't walk and is in a wheelchair".

"He will do everything he can to make Tuesday's game," the official said.

Van Gaal, sometimes nicknamed the "Iron Tulip" for his no-nonsense approach to coaching, arrived at Monday's training session in a golf cart.

The KNVB could not immediately be reached for comment.

Van Gaal's injury is the latest blow in the Netherlands' quest to get to Qatar.

The team captained by Liverpool central defender Virgil van Dijk squandered a 2-0 lead on Saturday against Montenegro after the hosts equalised with two goals in the last 10 minutes of the game, robbing the Dutch of a guaranteed ticket to Qatar.

The Dutch still head Group G but are just two points ahead of Turkey, who thrashed Gibraltar 6-0 on Sunday, as well as Norway, who are third on goal difference.

The Orange face Norway in Rotterdam on Tuesday in the final round of matches while Turkey travel to Montenegro.

If the Dutch beat Norway, they will be assured of a place in Qatar and even a draw could see them through. But they will be eliminated if they lose and the Turks win, missing out on a second successive World Cup Finals.

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