Louis van Gaal shrugs off cancer battle as he revels in Holland swatting aside the USA to set up a mouth-watering Argentina tie on Friday, with the Dutch plotting revenge for the agonies of 1978 and 2014
The video, at the last count, had been viewed 3.3million times since its posting late on Saturday night.
Returning to their hotel, the joyous Netherlands players bound in, dancing and singing and cheering and savouring their achievement of reaching a World Cup quarter-final.
Happiest of all, though, is the man masterminding the campaign. Louis van Gaal, with his zest and enthusiasm, illuminates this 35-second clip.
Louis van Gaal’s Holland were impressive during their 3-1 World Cup last-16 win over the USA
In the septuagenarian marches to the sounds ‘Waka! Waka!’ — Shakira’s song for the 2010 World Cup.
This being Van Gaal, though, there would have to be more and so it proved, as he throws an arm around a couple of local gentlemen and does a little jig. It is a joyful scene, a reminder that life is to be enjoyed at every opportunity.
Van Gaal was in top form after the Netherlands had swept the United States aside 3-1 to set up a quarter-final with Argentina, even planting — in his words — ‘a big, fat kiss’ on the cheek of man-of-the-match Denzel Dumfries at the end of the press conference.
What makes it all so poignant is the fact that Van Gaal, 71, has been dealing with prostate cancer.
It has been a demanding year, taxing his health and his emotions, but he has made sure that he has never allowed his personal circumstances to impinge on his squad.
Holland progressed to the quarter-finals of the Qatar World Cup with a 3-1 win over the USA
‘Of course it is in the back of our heads,’ explained Daley Blind, who scored the second goal and created the third for Dumfries. ‘From the first moment, we didn’t know about it.’
He did everything he could to keep it from us. He was even going to the hospital during the nights, so as not to show the team what he was going through.
‘We have so much respect for how he is coping with this disease at the moment. But he is as sharp as usual. He is Louis van Gaal and he will never change. What you see is what you get. He is a great personality and we are very happy he is with us. He always knows how to inspire players. It’s in the back of our heads (his health) but we don’t need any extra motivation. We play for our coach and we want to go as far as we can.’
The former Manchester United manager filmed the warm reception and hugged hotel staff
How things would have panned out had Christian Pulisic taken a glorious second-minute chance is difficult to say but the Netherlands, whose first goal was a 20-pass thing of beauty scored by Memphis Depay, are starting to find their stride.
‘There’s still a long way to go but I think we can do even better,’ said Manchester City’s Nathan Ake.
‘The further we go, the more people are going to talk about us but we have to focus on ourselves and go as far as we can go.’