Soccer-Dutch duo out of top of the table qualifier against Turkey


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - World Cup - UEFA Qualifiers - Group G - Norway v Netherlands - Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo, Norway - September 1, 2021 Netherlands' Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen in action with Norway's Martin Odegaard Stian Lysberg Solum/NTB via REUTERS

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Netherlands duo Nathan Ake and Cody Gakpo are out of their country’s World Cup qualifier against Turkey in Amsterdam on Tuesday, the Dutch FA said on Monday.

Gakpo was injured after scoring in the 4-0 win over Montenegro on Saturday, while Ake was allowed to leave the camp for undisclosed personal reasons.

“It is a pity because they are important players in the squad,” said coach Louis van Gaal on the eve of the Group G tie at the Amsterdam Arena.

“Cody especially has shown great development and we will miss him because we have a shortage of wide players,” he said of the 22-year-old from PSV Eindhoven.

Van Gaal said captain Virgil Van Dijk would return in defence after being rested at the weekend while Daley Blind would also return after suspension.

Turkey have a one point lead over the Dutch at the head of the group and beat the Netherlands 4-2 in Istanbul at the start of the qualifiers in March.

"I have a good feeling about the game against Turkey, but it will not be easy. Just look at the results in the World Cup qualifiers this week. Italy have now drawn twice (in Group C),” Van Gaal told a news conference on Monday.

“I think it's a very important match for us, but it's not like it's a final. The group shows that we can all win and lose against each other, but we can now take a very important step. We play at home, which is an advantage especially now the fans are there. Against Montenegro the fans were also great.

"But Turkey can play football really well. I think this is the toughest match we will have in the group," he added.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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