Other than his bold decision to substitute goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen for Tim Krul seconds before his side’s quarter-final penalty shootout with Costa Rica, the standout memory from Van Gaal’s World Cup campaign is his side’s tactical fluidity.
The Dutch stars excelled in a 3-4-1-2 formation, with former striker Dirk Kuyt seamlessly switching between central midfield, left wing-back and right wing-back.
Van Gaal will find it much harder to get United to adapt tactically.
The 23 members of the Dutch World Cup were all brought up on total football, while the British core at Old Trafford are only just starting to adjust to life beyond 4-4-2.
Moyes was given a six-year contract last summer.
United wanted him to emulate fellow Scot Sir Alex Ferguson, who had spent over 25 seasons in the Old Trafford hot-seat.
There was so much talk of ‘the United way’. The club that didn’t sack managers was building for the long term.
Moyes tested that policy to the extreme though with a disastrous title defence, and he was dismissed after just 10 months in charge.
Many idealistic supporters are hopeful that Van Gaal can lead the United ship for the best part of a decade.
However, 62-year-old Van Gaal, who turns 63 in August, has only stayed for five years or more in one of his seven previous jobs in management.
Van Gaal’s appointment has restored optimism among United fans, but it has also raised expectations – unreasonably so.
United are not ready to challenge for major honours in Van Gaal’s first season, but the Old Trafford faithful have become accustomed to success over the past 20 years.
The fans will start the season in buoyant mood, but, once they have witnessed a couple of disappointing defeats, they could well get on the backs of their heroes.
As a result, the Theatre of Dreams could become a happy hunting ground for visiting sides, just as it was last season, when West Brom, Everton, Newcastle, Tottenham, Liverpool, Man City and Sunderland all picked up maximum points.