Robben out, Ajax winger El-Ghazi gets 1st Dutch call-up
AMSTERDAM (AP) — Netherlands captain Arjen Robben has not recovered sufficiently from a groin injury to play in his country’s crucial final two qualifiers for next year’s European Championships.
Robben picked up the injury in the Netherlands’ 1-0 loss to Iceland last month and has not played since. Coach Danny Blind on Friday called up 20-year-old Ajax winger Anwar El-Ghazi as a possible replacement on the right flank.
Iceland and the Czech Republic have already qualified from Group A.
After a disastrous qualifying campaign, the Netherlands — a losing semifinalist at last year’s World Cup — is now two points adrift of third-place Turkey fighting for a playoff spot.
Blind also is missing defenders Stefan de Vrij and long-term absentee Rob Vlaar for the final two qualifiers. The Dutch travel to Astana to play Kazakhstan on Oct. 10 and take on the Czech Republic three days later in Amsterdam.
Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen (Ajax), Tim Krul (Newcastle), Jeroen Zoet (PSV Eindhoven).
Defenders: Jeffrey Bruma (PSV), Terence Kongolo (Feyenoord), Virgil van Dijk (Southampton), Daryl Janmaat (Newcastle), Jairo Riedewald (Ajax), Kenny Tete (Ajax), Karim Rekik (Marseille).
Midfielders: Vurnon Anita (Newcastle), Daley Blind (Manchester United), Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Georginio Wijnaldum (Newcastle), Ibrahim Afellay (Stoke).
Forwards: Memphis Depay (Manchester United), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke), Robin van Persie (Fenerbahce), Quincy Promes (Spartak Moscow), Jeremain Lens (Sunderland), Anwar El-Ghazi (Ajax) Bas Dost (Wolfsburg).