Netherlands midfielder Frenkie de Jong and winger Steven Bergwijn dropped out of the national squad for the team’s opening European Championship qualifier against France, coach Ronald Koeman said on Monday.
De Jong injured his thigh late in Barcelona’s 2-1 victory over Real Madrid on Sunday. Bergwijn picked up a knee injury in Ajax’s 3-2 loss to Feyenoord.
“Of course, that is a big loss because he’s an important player for this team,” Koeman said of De Jong. “Because of the way he plays, it will be different if others play in his position. He brings things that not many other players can.”
Koeman called up PSV Eindhoven midfielder Joey Veerman to replace De Jong and Borussia Dortmund winger Donyell Malen as a replacement for Bergwijn.
Friday’s match at the Stade de France is the first for Koeman in his second stint in charge of the Netherlands. Predecessor Louis van Gaal’s contract ended after the World Cup in Qatar, where the Dutch lost on penalties to eventual champion Argentina in the quarterfinals.
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