Soccer-Virus hits Dutch squad ahead of France Euro qualifier

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Quarter Final - Netherlands v Argentina - Lusail Stadium, Lusail, Qatar - December 9, 2022 Netherlands' Cody Gakpo looks dejected after Argentina's Lionel Messi scores their second goal REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

(Reuters) - The Netherlands have lost five players due to a viral infection in the squad ahead of their Euro 2024 qualifier against France in Paris on Friday.

Defenders Matthijs de Ligt and Sven Botman, forward Cody Gakpo, midfielder Joey Veerman and goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen, have all been sent home by coach Ronald Koeman, the Dutch FA said on Thursday.

Koeman has called up Inter Milan centre back Stefan de Vrij, Bayern Munich midfielder Ryan Gravenberch and Vitesse Arnhem keeper Kjell Scherpen as replacements.

The Netherlands face France before hosting Gibraltar in their second Group B qualifier on Monday.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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