Robben back in Netherlands team for World Cup qualifier

November 4, 2016
Bayern's Arjen Robben, right, challenges for the ball with PSV's Daniel Schwaab during the Group D Champions League soccer match between PSV Eindhoven and Bayern Munich at the Philips stadium in Eindhoven, Netherlands, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — After a year blighted by injury, Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben was recalled to the Netherlands squad Friday for a World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg.

Coach Danny Blind said that after talks with Bayern, the injury-prone Robben will be in the squad for the Nov. 13 Group A game in Luxembourg. He will not play, however, in the friendly four days earlier in Amsterdam against neighboring Belgium.

“It is about striking a balance,” Blind said. “For me, it is all about getting three points against Luxembourg.”

The return of Robben is a boost for the Netherlands, which has struggled in his absences in recent years, including failing to qualify for the European Championship in France.

Also back in the Dutch squad after an even longer absence is midfielder Stijn Schaars, who has not played an international since March 2014. Schaars has impressed this season for his new Dutch club Heerenveen, leading it to third in the top flight Eredivisie league.

Blind gave Sporting Lisbon wingback Marvin Zeegelaar a first call-up in his 25-man squad in the hope that he will add attacking impetus on the left.

“He is really a left winger playing at left back. That is good for us in offense,” Blind said.

Zeegelaar is relatively unknown in the Netherlands after leaving to play overseas at a young age, but Blind said he got to know him when he was head coach of the Ajax youth team program.

The coach named Spartak Moscow winger Quincy Promes to his squad, but said his fitness remains in doubt as he struggles to shake off an ankle injury.

The Netherlands is third in Group A after three matches, three points behind Sweden and France, which play each other on Nov. 11. Luxembourg is bottom of the group with just one point from its three matches so far.


Netherlands Squad:

Goalkeepers: Maarten Stekelenburg (Everton), Michel Vorm (Tottenham Hotspur), Jasper Cillessen (Barcelona).

Defenders: Jeffrey Bruma (Wolfsburg), Virgil van Dijk (Southampton), Rick Karsdorp (Feyenoord), Terence Kongolo (Feyenoord), Daley Blind (Manchester United), Joel Veltman (Ajax), Marvin Zeegelaar (Sporting Lisbon).

Midfielders: Jordy Clasie (Southampton), Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Davy Proepper (PSV), Bart Ramselaar (PSV), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Georgino Wijnaldum (Liverpool), Tonny Vilhena (Feyenoord), Stijn Schaars (Heerenveen).

Forwards: Bas Dost (Sporting Lisbon), Vincent Janssen (Tottenham Hotspur), Luuk de Jong (PSV), Memphis Depay (Manchester United), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich), Jeremain Lens (Fenerbahce), Quincy Promes (Spartak Moscow).

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