Arjen Robben won a penalty in controversial circumstances minutes later, which Klaas-Jan Huntelaar duly dispatched to send the Dutch through to the quarter-finals, and Van Gaal admits that his side had an "escape".
"It was an escape yes, but in the second half we showed we could create many opportunities," he told reporters.
"It's always food for thought, we will analyse the next opponents and see what's best to do. It's not only to do with our qualities but also those of our opponents."
Van Gaal's side will face Costa Rica in the last-eight stage following their penalty shootout victory over Greece.