Sports / Other Sports / 

Netherlands coach names 2 new defenders in squad

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 17, 2017 at 7:58 a.m.



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Netherlands coach Danny Blind named two new defenders Friday in his squad for a World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria and a friendly against Italy.

Blind picked 17-year-old Ajax center back Matthijs de Ligt and Lazio defender Wesley Hoedt for his 25-man squad, looking to plug gaps left by a string of injuries to regulars such as Virgil van Dijk and Jeffrey Bruma.

De Ligt, who only made his Ajax debut in November, would be one of the youngest ever debutants for the Netherlands.

"He could be a surprise for many people, a very young player who has just started knocking on the door," Blind said. "But I've known him for longer, from the Ajax academy."

If Hoedt is picked to play, he could team up with his Lazio defensive teammate Stefan de Vrij.

Veteran midfielder Wesley Sneijder, who was not included in Blind's provisional squad announced last week, was named in the final 25 despite concerns about the 32-year-old Galatasaray player's fitness.

The Dutch take on Bulgaria in Sofia on March 25 and return to Amsterdam to play Italy three days later. The Netherlands is in second place in Group A behind France.

After failing to qualify for last year's European Championship in France, the Netherlands has to win Group A to directly qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia or finish second to secure a playoff spot.

___

Netherlands:

Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen (Barcelona), Michel Vorm (Tottenham), Jeroen Zoet (PSV Eindhoven)

Defenders: Daley Blind (Manchester United), Wesley Hoedt (Lazio), Rick Karsdorp (Feyenoord), Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax), Bruno Martins Indi (Stoke), Kenny Tete (Ajax), Joel Veltman (Ajax), Nick Viergever (Ajax), Stefan de Vrij (Lazio)

Midfielders: Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord), Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Kevin Strootman (Roma), Jens Toornstra (Feyenoord), Tonny Vilhena (Feyenoord), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool)

Forwards: Bas Dost (Sporting Lisbon), Vincent Janssen (Tottenham), Jeremain Lens (Fenerbahce), Memphis Depay (Lyon), Quincy Promes (Spartak Moscow), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

    SIGN UP FOR THE KSL.COM NEWSLETTER

    Catch up on the top news and features from KSL.com, sent weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast