Brazil had an extra day to prepare for the match following each side's respective semi-final defeats, and Van Gaal admits that the mood in the Dutch camp was concerning ahead of their meeting with the hosts.
"This was very difficult for us," the 62-year-old told NOS. "All the odds were against us. Brazil had a day more in preparation and we were defeated after penalties.
"We could have been in the final. Our spirit was down after Argentina. I only spoke about the Brazil match in the team talk, not about Argentina. Luckily we showed how good we are again."
Van Gaal will now leave his Netherlands post to begin his duties with Manchester United.