Koeman includes De Jong and Depay in Dutch squad at Euro 2024 but no place for Maatsen

Wed, May 29, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Koeman includes De Jong and Depay in Dutch squad at Euro 2024 but no place for Maatsen

ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) - Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman left Borussia Dortmund wing back Ian Maatsen out of his final 26-man squad Wednesday for the European Championship despite his strong performances helping to propel Dortmund to the Champions League final.

Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong and Atletico Madrid striker Memphis Depay, both recovering from injuries, were included in Koeman's squad and are expected to be fit in time for the Netherlands' first Group D match against Poland on June 16 in Hamburg.

Depay has scored 44 goals for Oranje and is closing in on Robin van Persie's all-time leading goal tally of 50. De Jong's control and surging runs from midfield are considered vital to the success of the Netherlands team.

Koeman said De Jong would join the squad on Saturday "and then we'll have a better picture (of his fitness), but it's going well." He said he expects De Jong will be fit to start against Poland, though it is not yet clear if he will be able to play the whole match.

The coach said that he is cautiously optimistic about the Netherlands' chances in Germany despite a number of injuries, particularly to his midfield.

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"We have a team that is hard to beat," Koeman said. "We have a lot of creative quality in the forwards, so I think we have a strong team."

Maatsen was one of three players Koeman dropped from his provisional squad, alongside Sparta Rotterdam goalkeeper Nick Olij and Feyenoord defender Quinten Timber, who misses the tournament because of an injury.

Although he has never played for the national team, Maatsen's strong performances since joining Dortmund on loan from Chelsea had put his name in the mix for a place in the squad for the June 14-July 14 tournament. His omission leaves Koeman without a genuine left back in his squad. He said veteran Girona defender Daley Blind or Micky van de Ven of Tottenham could play in that position.

A three-time World Cup runner-up, the Netherlands' only major tournament victory came at the 1988 European Championship in West Germany, when Koeman was a key defender in the winning team.

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Netherlands:

Goalkeepers: Justin Bijlow (Feyenoord), Mark Flekken (Brentford), Bart Verbruggen (Brighton).

Defenders: Nathan Ake (Manchester City), Daley Blind (Girona), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Denzel Dumfries (Inter Milan), Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen), Lutsharel Geertruida (Feyenoord), Matthijs de Ligt (Bayern Munich), Micky van de Ven (Tottenham), Stefan de Vrij (Inter Milan).

Midfielders: Teun Koopmeiners (Atalanta), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Ryan Gravenberch (Liverpool), Tijjani Reijnders (AC Milan), Jerdy Schouten (PSV), Joey Veerman (PSV), Georginio Wijnaldum (Al Ettifaq).

Forwards: Steven Bergwijn (Ajax), Brian Brobbey (Ajax), Memphis Depay (Atletico Madrid), Cody Gakpo (Liverpool), Donyell Malen (Borussia Dortmund), Xavi Simons (Leipzig), Wout Weghorst (Hoffenheim).

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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