Advocaat leaves out Overmars and van der Sar for qualifier against Czechs


AMSTERDAM: Ajax midfielder Rafael van der Vaart was a surprise inclusion in the Dutch squad named by coach Dick Advocaat on Monday for Euro 2004 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Moldova. 

A surprise omission was Barcelona winger Marc Overmars, a key player for the Champions League quarter-finalists who scored a double on Sunday in their Spanish first division victory over Racing Santander. 

Also returning to the squad for the Group Three matches at home to the Czechs on March 29 and away to Moldova on April 2 is defender Andre Ooijer of Dutch league leaders PSV Eindhoven. 

Both players missed Holland's last international, a friendly at home to Argentina last month which they won 1-0 with a late goal by Arsenal's Giovanni van Bronckhorst. 

Missing from the 21-man squad are goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar of Fulham, who is nursing a foot injury, and Barcelona's Phillip Cocu, who is out with a severe knee injury. 

Van der Vaart, 20, did not shine playing for his club in their Champions League group decider against AS Roma last week and the Dutch top-of-the-table first division match at PSV on Sunday. 

The form of his central strikers should give Advocaat a some comfort. Only Roy Makaay failed to score at the weekend when Ruud van Nistelrooy hit a hat-trick, Patrick Kluivert and Pierre van Hooijdonk weighed in with doubles and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink struck once. 

In the absence of Cocu, Edgar Davids is expected to play a more central role in midfield together with Mark van Bommel, while Boudewijn Zenden and van Bronckhorst will probably cover the left flank. 

Holland and the Czech Republic are joint top in Group Three with maximum points from their first two matches. Austria are third. 

The last time the sides met was their opening match of the Euro 2000 Finals when the Dutch won after a disputed last-minute penalty scored by Frank de Boer, who will become the first Dutch international to reach a century of caps on Saturday. 

The Dutch will meet the Czechs in a sold out Feyenoord Stadium in Rotterdam and then travel to Tirespol to face Moldova on Wednesday for the first time in their history.  

Moldova are equal bottom with Belarus with no points from two games. 

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers