Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella said his players gave "the last drop of our sweat" to edge past the Netherlands on penalties and reach the World Cup final.
Although his men could not find the goal in 120 minutes, Van Gaal said he thought his side showed a superior performance in the run of play.
Argentina advance to the World Cup final
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"I'm very pleased and very happy because of the players -- the entire and extraordinary group of players," Sabella said. "For all of those, who in one way or another have collaborated to make us better and the Argentine football association for giving me a chance to be the coach of this squad.
"We've made it to the final. We've crossed the Rubicon and we've made it to the end.
"This was a very even and balanced match. We had better options, clearer ones, to score. The game itself was a draw. The result is not everything. I always said the one who covers the spaces better would win."
Sabella heaped praise on defender Javier Mascherano, who blocked multiple shots that could have given the Netherlands the victory.
"Mascherano is a symbol," the manager said. "He is an emblem and we were able to move on to the semi finals. He was able to take a huge weight off his shoulders. He is an outstanding player. I don't have to make any other technical comments. Other coaches always want him."
Mascherano said the semifinal triumph put Argentina football "where it deserves to be."
"If there is anything that this group deserves it was this," he said. "We played a brilliant match, we didn't fear anything and we played knowing that on Sunday we will play the match of our lives."
Argentina now face Germany in Sunday's final after three days of rest, and Sabella said he believes his players will be prepared for the country's first final appearance since 1990, when they lost to West Germany.
"We have a final to play and with one day less to recover. With work, humility and seriousness we will do everything possible in order to make it to the top. I am absolutely thrilled with my players."
Although the knockout stage appeared set up to provide a final between South American rivals, Brazil's defeat means Argentina could win the tournament without facing the hosts.
"I have a great admiration for two countries from a football point of view: for Brazil and Germany," Sabella said. "Germany, throughout its entire history, has always shown physical might, tactical prowess and mental force. They've always had players with a certain South American touch. It is a first-world country that knows how to work and know what teamwork and organization is. They have all of those virtues.
"We have to rest, think, recover, and enjoy a bit what these players deserve. We'll see next Sunday.
"It would have been difficult to be left out of the final the day after the defeat and play Brazil. We had five wins in a row and would've lost that dream of making it to the final. Fortunately, we made it to the final and have avoided playing Brazil."