Dutch fret over defender Vlaar’s fitness for key qualifier

06 Jun, 2015 1:27 pm

AMSTERDAM – Netherlands coach Guus Hiddink admitted he would be sweating through the weekend over the fitness of defender Ron Vlaar, who he hopes to have fit to play in next week’s key Euro 2016 qualifier in Latvia.

First choice central defenders Vlaar and Stefan de Vrij both sat out Friday as the Dutch let slip a 3-1 lead to go down 4-3 in a tardy defensive display at home in their friendly international against the United States in Amsterdam.

The home defence was easily breached by the Americans, who scored twice in the last two minutes to win the game. Hiddink confirmed he wants to field Aston Villa’s Vlaar and Lazio’s De Vrij in central defence in Riga on Friday, where the Dutch need a win to keep up hopes of Euro 2016 qualification.

“I’m not worried about Stefan, he just has a few aches and pains,” Hiddink told Dutch television after the disappointing defeat.

“But Vlaar will be tested over the weekend.”

He has recent knee problems and was given time off before joining up with the Dutch squad last Wednesday. The pair, who were both impressive at club level in tough leagues this past season, would offer a better option, the coach added.

“We had too many players that had too few top matches in their legs. They perhaps lacked the intelligence to read some situations and at a top level that is harshly punished,” Hiddink added. The Dutch must beat Latvia to keep their Euro 2016 qualification chances in their own hands.

They are third in Group A with seven points behind leaders the Czech Republic, who have 13, and Iceland on 12. The top two qualify for the finals along with the best third-placed side. –Reuters

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