Five players in the Netherlands squad to face World Cup finalist France in their opening European Championship qualifier have been sent home after contracting a viral infection.
Liverpool forward Cody Gakpo, Bayern Munich defender Matthijs de Ligt alongwith Sven Botman, Joey Veerman and Bart Verbruggen all left the training camp, the Dutch federation said on Thursday. It did not elaborate on the virus.
The departures were another blow to coach Ronald Koeman ahead of the first match of his second stint in charge of the national team. Already this week, Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong and Ajax winger Steven Bergwijn dropped out due to injuries.
Koeman called up Bayern Munich midfielder Ryan Gravenberch, Vitesse Arnhem’s Kjell Scherpen and Inter Milan defender Stefan de Vrij as replacements for the five ill players.
The Netherlands plays France at the Stade de France on Friday in a Group B qualifier before returning home to take on Gibraltar on Monday in Rotterdam.
- Davis Cup: Defending champion Canada knocked out in quarterfinals by Finland
- FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers: Argentina beats Brazil 1-0 to go top of table after crowd violence delays start
- Brazil 0-1 Argentina Highlights, FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers: Otamendi’s goal leads Argentina to win; Joelinton sees red card
- Brawling fans in stands delay start of Argentina-Brazil World Cup qualifying match for 27 minutes
- FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers: Why is Brazil vs Argentina kick-off delayed?