THE HAGUE — The Netherlands will face France in their Euro 2024 qualifying clash this week without injured playmaker Frenkie de Jong or winger Steven Bergwijn, the Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) announced yesterday.
They have been replaced by PSV Eindhoven’s Joey Veerman and Borussia Dortmund’s Donyell Malen as the Dutch take on Les Bleus at the Stade de France on Friday, before playing Gibraltar on Monday, March 27, in Rotterdam.
De Jong featured 90 minutes for Barca in Sunday’s El Clasico win over Real Madrid.
“The Barcelona player has upper leg complaints from the game with Real Madrid and is not available for the Oranje,” the KNVB said in a statement about De Jong, who underwent an MRI scan.
“Bergwijn also had to step aside with a knee injury,” it added.
Known for his creative playmaking, De Jong’s absence will be felt in the midfield, Dutch coach Ronald Koeman added.
Koeman took over from Louis van Gaal who retired after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar — for his second stint as coach.
“Frenkie is an important player in the team. He has qualities that few other players possess,” Koeman said at a press conference.
“But his absence doesn’t mean that I am going to change my system. That would be strange,” added Koeman, who prefers a 4-3-3 as opposed to Van Gaal’s 5-3-2 which took the Netherlands to the quarter finals in Qatar.
The Netherlands also play Ireland and Greece in Group B with the top two teams advancing to next year’s finals in Germany. — AFP