Xavi Simons, Cillessen out of Dutch World Cup squad

Xavi Simons, Cillessen out of Dutch World Cup squad

ZEST, Netherlands (AP) — Uncapped striker Xavi Simmons was included in the Netherlands’ World Cup squad on Friday, while veteran goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen was not included in coach Louis van Gaal’s roster for the tournament in Qatar. done

Van Gaal also selected injured Barcelona star Memphis Depay and Bayern Munich’s Matij de Ligt in his 26-man squad.

Depay, who has 42 goals in 81 internationals, has not played since picking up a hamstring injury while playing for the Netherlands against Poland in September. De Ligt has recovered from a knee injury.

“Memphis Depay is still injured or not (fully) recovered,” Van Gaal said, adding that it was against his normal policy to select injured players. “But Memphis was very important to this group — not just as a football player, but as a person, so yeah, I’ve kept a spot open for him.”

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He described Depay as “medically fit” but added that he would not be ready to start for Holland on November 21 against Senegal – likely to be their toughest opponent in the group stage – but could be a substitute. come as

“So it’s a risk for the group, but he’s our top scorer and king of assists. We can’t change that,” Van Gaal said.

Simon, 20, got his year off with a strong first half of the domestic season with Dutch league leaders PSV Eindhoven following his move from Paris Saint-Germain. Born in Amsterdam, the player, named after Spain’s World Cup winner Xavi Hernandez, attended Barcelona’s youth academy before moving to Paris.

One of the surprise omissions was Cillessen, who was famously replaced by Van Gaal shortly before the penalty shootout in the 2014 World Cup quarter-final against Costa Rica. Van Gaal faced reserve goalkeeper Tim Krul who saved two penalties as Holland won to reach the semi-finals, where they beat Lionel Messi’s Argentina – also on penalties.

Van Gaal said Cillessen’s departure came down to a simple reason.

“He has not been in form in recent weeks. And the World Cup is now, not in five weeks,” he said.

Van Gaal’s team is also playing against Ecuador and host country Qatar in the group stage.

The Netherlands reached the World Cup final three times in 1974, 1978 and 2010 and lost all of them. The country’s only major title came at the 1988 European Championships.

Van Gaal hopes his current squad can go one better.

“We have a good chance of becoming world champions,” he said. “There are few coaches who have the guts to talk like that, but I say it.”

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Netherlands:

Goalkeepers: Justin Bijlo (Feyenoord), Andres Knoppert (Heerenveen), Rimko Passover (Ajax)

Defenders: Nathan Ake (Manchester City), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Denzel Dumfries (Inter Milan), Jeremy Frimpong (Bayern Leverkusen), Matthijs de Ligt (Bayern Munich), Terrelle Malaysia (Manchester United), Jurien Timber (Aija). , Stefan de Vrij (Inter Milan), Daley Blind (Ajax)

Midfielders: Steven Bergois (Ajax), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Davy Claesin (Ajax), Theon Koopmaners (Atlanta), Martin de Rooen (Atlanta), Xavi Simmons (PSV Eindhoven), Kenneth Taylor (Ajax)

Forwards: Steven Bergwijn (Ajax), Memphis Depay (Barcelona), Cody Gakpo (PSV), Vincent Janssen (Antwerp), Luc de Jong (PSV), Noah Long (Club Berg), Wot Wieghorst (Besiktas)

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