Netherlands send five players home after virus outbreak ahead of Euro 2024 qualifying match against France

The Netherlands send players home Euro 2024 qualifying
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Netherlands have sent five players home from the start of their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, following a virus outbreak in the team's training camp. 

Among those sent home are Liverpool's Cody Gakpo, Newcastle's Sven Botman, Bayern Munich defender Matthijs de Ligt, Anderlecht goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen and PSV's Joey Veerman. 

Dutch manager Ronald Koeman has called up three replacements to the squad as a result, with Bayern Munich midfielder Ryan Gravenberch, Inter Milan defender Stefan de Vrij and goalkeeper Kjell Scherpen, on loan from Brighton at Vitesse Arnhem, all added, though initially only for the first fixture. 

Gravenberch and Scherpen join from the U21 side currently on a training camp in Spain. 

A statement by the Dutch FA read: "Sven Botman, Cody Gakpo, Matthijs de Ligt, Joey Veerman and Bart Verbruggen left the training camp of the Dutch national team this morning. They are suffering from a virus infection."

No further details on the nature of the virus have been released by the Dutch FA.

Having already lost Frenkie de Jong and Steven Bergwijn from the squad due to injuries they sustained in training earlier this week, the virus outbreak is a blow to Ronald Koeman on his return to management of the national team. 

His previous time in the role lasted for 16 months, but ended when he left the Dutch setup to take over at Barcelona in 2020. 

The Netherlands are due to play France on Friday at the Stade de France, before welcoming Gibraltar to Amsterdam for their second group game. 

Having missed out on qualification to the previous two European Championships, Koeman's side will certainly want to get their campaign off to a strong start against the World Cup finalists. It'll inevitably be a tough test, though, with Kylian Mbappe set to start the game as captain, announced by Didier Deschamps earlier this week due to Hugo Lloris not being in the squad. 

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Ryan Dabbs
Staff writer

Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.