Old guard still get spots in Dutch attack for World Cup
Six players that featured in a losing effort for the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup final are retained by outgoing national boss Louis van Gaal for the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
His Clockwork Orange, who are 33/1 to go one better and lift the trophy this time, combine experienced heads, like Manchester United striker Robin van Persie, with younger names in defence in a 30-man preliminary roster.
Rafael van der Vaart (Hamburg), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce) and Nigel de Jong (AC Milan) are the other five retained from South Africa. Swansea stopper Michel Vorm also went to the last tournament, but as an unused substitute.
Newcastle United number one Tim Krul will compete with him, Ajax’s Jasper Cillessen and PSV Eindhoven custodian Jeroen Zoet for three goalkeeper spots in the final squad, with Maarten Stekelenburg (Fulham) dropped. Aston Villa captain Ron Vlaar is the most-experienced Dutch defender named, as Van Gaal omitted PSG right back Gregory van der Wiel.
Late bloomer Paul Verhaegh (Augsburg) and Feyenoord’s Daryl Janmaat will instead compete for that berth. The Rotterdam club are well-represented at the back here, with Stefan de Vrij, Bruno Martins Indi and the uncapped Terence Kongolo all included.
Ajax duo Joel Veltman and Daley Blind join Patrick van Aanholt (on loan at feeder club Vitesse Arnhem from Chelsea) and Karim Rekik (enjoying a similarly temporary stint at PSV from Manchester City) in complete the defensive options.
Midfielder Leroy Fer, just relegated from the Premier League with Norwich, is an eyebrow-raising inclusion from Van Gaal. Jonathan de Guzman, who has spent the last two seasons on loan at Swansea from Villarreal, also makes it, while PSV captain Georginio Wijnaldum has recovered from injury in time to return.
Jordy Clasie and Tonny Trindade de Vilhena (both Feyenoord) are also available in midfield, alongside established stars Van Der Vaart, Sneijder and De Jong. Roma’s Kevin Strootman misses the finals through injury, while Van Gaal has dropped experienced anchor Stijn Schaars and Marco van Ginkel (Chelsea) has only just returned following a lengthy layoff.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke) will once again provide prolific backup to Van Persie in the lone striker role. Dynamo Kiev forward Jeremain Lens is also given a call, while the cover in attack comes from young trio Jean-Paul Boetius (Feyenoord), Memphis Depay (PSV) and Quincy Promes (Twente).
Full Netherlands preliminary squad:
Goalkeepers: Michel Vorm (Swansea), Tim Krul (Newcastle), Jasper Cillessen (Ajax), Jeroen Zoet (PSV Eindhoven)
Defenders: Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Daryl Janmaat, Bruno Martins Indi, Stefan de Vrij and Terence Kongolo (all Feyenoord), Daley Blind and Joel Veltman (both Ajax), Paul Verhaegh (Augsburg), Patrick van Aanholt (Vitesse Arnhem, on loan from Chelsea), Karim Rekik (PSV, on loan from Man City)
Midfielders: Rafael van der Vaart (Hamburg), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Nigel de Jong (AC Milan), Jonathan de Guzman (Swansea, on loan from Villarreal), Jordy Clasie and Tonny Trindade de Vilhena (both Feyenoord), Leroy Fer (Norwich), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV)
Forwards: Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce), Robin van Persie (Man Utd), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke), Jeremain Lens (Dynamo Kiev), Memphis Depay (PSV), Jean-Paul Boetius (Feyenoord), Quincy Promes (Twente)
The Clockwork Orange have been placed in Group B at the finals, alongside holders Spain, Chile and Australia. They are 3/1 second-favourites to top this pool.