The Netherlands will be without one of it’s most experienced and talented players in the 2014 World Cup next month as they try to get back to the finals for the fourth time.
Midfielder Rafael van der Vaart incurred a calf injury during training on Tuesday which will force him to miss the entire World Cup. The Brazil World Cup would have been the third for Van der Vaart.
Here is the statement from KNVB website:
Rafael van der Vaart will miss the World Cup in Brazil. The Holland international has a calf strain in his right leg. Coach Louis van Gaal has therefore decided not to include him in the final selection.
Van der Vaart is the most experienced Holland international soccer player with 109 caps in his legendary career. During his club career, Van der Vaart has played for Ajax, Hamburger SV, Real Madrid, and currently the Tottenham Hotspur.
This is the second major loss for the Netherlands as fellow midfielder Kevin Strootman suffered a season ending knee injury in March and will miss the World Cup as well.
With no natural midfielder, van Gaal will likely put Wesley Sneijder in at midfield during the World Cup to create opportunities for his teammates. Sneijder was electric in the 2010 World Cup, as he was tied with four other players for the most goals during the tournament with five.
The Netherlands begin their World Cup campaign on June 13 in a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final against defending champions Spain. In the group stage the Netherlands will also face off against Australia and Chile.