Selection problems mount for Holland coach Van Marwijk

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Holland manager Bert van Marwijk called up 23 players on Friday for the upcoming two qualifying matches ahead of next year’s European Championships finals. Two of them, Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong and Tottenham playmaker Rafael van der Vaart called off on Sunday with injuries.

De Jong is still smarting from an ankle injury and Van der Vaart stumbled off the pitch with a painful hamstring on Sunday. It's unclear whether Van der Vaart will be able to join the squad later this week.

On Sunday evening, Van Marwijk called up Sporting midfielder Stijn Schaars to replace the two injured players. He also contacted Theo Janssen, but was told by Janssen's club, Ajax Amsterdam, that he wasn't fit to play yet.

On Friday, the Holland coach had dropped Schaars and Janssen, as well as Feyenoord defender Ron Vlaar, from the preliminary 27-strong squad. He added Jeremain Lens, who scored a magnificent goal for PSV Eindhoven in a Europa League match on Thursday night.

The Holland coach also regrets the absence of Arjen Robben (Bayern München) and Ibrahim Afellay (FC Barcelona), who're both recovering from injury: "Two very creative players, we'll certainly miss them."

The first match is scheduled in Eindhoven against bottom-of-the-table San Marino on Friday 2 September, the second away in Finland on Tuesday 6 September.

The Dutch squad hasn’t been together since early June when they drew against Uruguay in Montevideo. This month’s friendly against England was called off due to serious rioting in London.
 
Dutch squad:
 
Goalkeepers
Maarten Stekelenburg (AS Roma)
Michel Vorm (Swansea City)
Tim Krul (Newcastle United)
 
Defenders
Joris Mathijsen (Málaga)
John Heitinga (Everton)
Erik Pieters (PSV)
Hedwiges Maduro (Valencia)
Edson Braafheid (Hoffenheim)
Jeffrey Bruma (HSV)
Khalid Boulahrouz (VfB Stuttgart)
Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax)
 
Midfield
Wesley Sneijder (Inter)
Kevin Strootman (FC Utrecht)
Mark van Bommel (AC Milan)
Stijn Schaars (Sporting)
 
Strikers
Eljero Elia (HSV)
Klaas Jan Huntelaar (Schalke 04)
Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool)
Luuk de Jong (FC Twente)
Robin van Persie (Arsenal)
Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV)
Jeremain Lens (PSV)