Father-to-be Van Persie out of Dutch squad

ROTTERDAM - Robin van Persie and Andre Ooijer have pulled out of the Netherlands squad for Saturday's friendly against Australia in Sydney so they can stay with their wives who are due to give birth.

Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk has called up midfielder Rafael van der Vaart and central defender Khalid Boulahrouz as replacements, the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) said on their official website on Sunday.

The Netherlands have already booked their ticket to next year's World Cup finals in South Africa by winning all of their eight qualifying matches in European Group Nine.