Holland found themselves sitting deep for large parts of the game as Chile controlled possession, with Stefan de Vrij and Arjen Robben squandering their best first-half chances.
Van Gaal’s introduction of Memphis Depay and then Leroy Fer changed the course of the game, though, as the former drew a fine save out of Omar Bravo and Fer opened the scoring with a towering header following the resulting corner.
Depay then sealed the three points in added time when Arjen Robben launched a quick counter attack after a Chile corner and the PSV youngster was able to slot home from inside the area to keep his side’s 100 per cent record at this tournament intact.
It was a much more cautious display from Holland than seen in their previous wins over Spain and Australia, but van Gaal insisted it was the best way to break Chile down.
"If I played 4-3-3 against Chile, Robben would have had to run after them. They can't do that for 90 minutes," he said after the game.
"You just have to play according to your strengths, it's all about winning. I'll pick a system that helps me win.
"This is proof of the pudding. We're not giving away very much, but we're creating a lot.
"If I didn't do that, you'd chop off my head. And, by the way, I played like this with AZ and won the championship.
"Me and my staff, we only ever want to score one goal more than the opponents."
Robben was Holland’s stand-in captain in the absence of the rested Robin van Persie and he spoke of his pride at the way his side kept going.
"We gave nothing away and fought like lions. Oranje lions," he said.
"I'm very proud of this team. If you see how we fought here today. We were right on top of them and gave them no chances."