Published: 10:53, June 12, 2024
Major blow for the Netherlands as Frenkie de Jong misses out on Euro 2024
By Xinhua
Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong lays injured during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, April 21, 2024. (PHOTO / AP) 

THE HAGUE - FC Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong withdrew from the Netherlands' Euro 2024 squad on Tuesday due to an ankle injury that won't heal in time for the tournament.

The absence of the 27-year-old De Jong is a major blow for the Dutch squad. Despite his ankle injury since April, the third of the season, Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman had hoped his key player would be fit for at least the final group phase match.

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However, examinations on Sunday and Monday revealed that De Jong's ankle is not ready for group training yet, requiring at least another three weeks of recovery. Consequently, both the player and staff decided it would be better for him to leave the squad.

Koeman will call up a replacement shortly. Additionally, on Monday, the "Oranje" suffered another setback when Atalanta midfielder Teun Koopmeiners got injured during the warm-up for the friendly match against Iceland in Rotterdam. For Koopmeiners, it might also mark the end of his Euro 2024 dreams.

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Despite missing De Jong and Koopmeiners, the Netherlands put on a good performance in De Kuip stadium, beating Iceland 4-0. Xavi Simons opened the scoring with his first goal for his country, and in the second half, Virgil van Dijk, Donyell Malen, and Wout Weghorst added goals.

Last Thursday, the Dutch also beat Canada 4-0 in Rotterdam. Memphis Depay, Jeremie Frimpong, Weghorst, and Van Dijk scored against the Canadians.

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With two convincing victories, the Dutch travel to Germany with a lot of confidence on Tuesday, despite missing star player Frenkie de Jong. The last and only time the Netherlands became European champions was in 1988 in Germany, with current coach Koeman as a player.

The Netherlands start the group phase of Euro 2024 on Sunday, June 16 in Hamburg against Poland, followed by matches against France on June 21 and Austria on June 25.