Sunday 04 December 2022

Louis van Gaal reveals his World Cup squad, with seven Ajax players

Louis van Gaal introduces the Dutch squad. Photo: Maurice van Steen ANP

PSV midfielder Xavi Simons and defender Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen) have both been called up for the Dutch squad for the 2022 football World Cup in Qatar. But keeper Jasper Cillessen, who moved from Valencia to NEC last summer to up his playing time, is out of the group.

Coach Louis van Gaal revealed his selection in a bombastic social media posting on Friday, during which he read out the name of each player from a book while dramatic music played.

Seven of the 26-strong squad play for Ajax, three for PSV, one for Feyenoord and one for Heerenveen. The rest all play abroad.

Van Gaal told a press conference he had tears in his eyes when he phoned 11 players on Friday morning to tell them they had not made the final cut.

Cillessen, he said, had been left out because he is not in form. However, Memphis Depay, currently out through injury, is included in the squad because of his importance to the group as a ‘footballer and as a person’, Van Gaal said.

Zeist

The 26 players will gather in Zeist on Monday for their first training session and then will fly to Doha on Tuesday. Oranje’s first match is against Senegal on November 21.

The Dutch team are in Group A alongside the hosts and Ecuador as well as Senegal and the top two sides each group qualify for the round of 16.

Eight years ago the Dutch came third in the Brazil World Cup and were second in 1974, 1978 and 2010.

The squad:

Keepers: Justin Bijlow (Feyenoord), Remko Pasveer (Ajax), Andries Noppert (Heerenveen)

Defence: Nathan Aké (Manchester City), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Matthijs de Ligt (Bayern München), Jurriën Timber (Ajax), Stefan de Vrij (Internazionale), Daley Blind (Ajax), Denzel Dumfries (Internazionale), Tyrell Malacia (Manchester United), Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen)

Midfield: Steven Berghuis (Ajax), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Teun Koopmeiners (Atalanta), Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Xavi Simons (PSV), Kenneth Taylor (Ajax).

Attack: Steven Bergwijn (Ajax), Memphis Depay (FC Barcelona), Cody Gakpo (PSV), Vincent Janssen (Antwerp), Luuk de Jong (PSV), Wout Weghorst (Besiktas), Noa Lang (Club Brugge)

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