FC Barcelona player Ibrahim Afellay, who spent almost seven months of 2011-12 out because of a knee injury, has reason to be jubilant as he was named in Holland’s 36-member preliminary squad for next month’s European Championships. The nation’s team coach Bert van Marwijk chose Afellay in the list of players who will assemble for the pre-Euro 2012 camp that starts next week. ”We still have the Dutch play-offs, foreign leagues and cup finals as well as the final of the Champions League,” said Van Marwijk. ”Furthermore, there are players coming back from injuries. But it is a great opportunity to see these players close up.”
Van Marwijk will eliminate nine players after a two-day training camp in Hoenderloo on 14 and 15 May and then cut a furthermore four players from his side by 29 May, the deadline set by UEFA. Holland is part of what many believe is this Euro’s “group of death”, which also features Denmark, Germany and Portugal. See the shortlist after the jump.
Goalkeepers: Maarten Stekelenburg (AS Roma), Tim Krul (Newcastle United), Michel Vorm (Swansea City), Erwin Mulder (Feyenoord), Jasper Cillissen (Ajax Amsterdam)
Defenders: Vurnon Anita (Ajax Amsterdam), Khalid Boulahrouz (VFB Stuttgart), Wilfred Bouma (PSV Eindhoven), Urby Emanuelson (AC Milan), John Heitinga (Everton), Hedwiges Maduro (Valencia), Joris Mathijsen (Malaga), Nick Viergever (AZ Alkmaar), Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord), Stefan de Vrij (Feyenoord), Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax Amsterdam), Jetro Willems (PSV Eindhoven), Alexander Büttner (Vitesse)
Midfielders: Ibrahim Afellay (Barcelona), Mark van Bommel (AC Milan), Nigel de Jong (Manchester City), Adam Maher (AZ Alkmaar), Stijn Schaars (Sporting), Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan), Kevin Strootman (PSV Eindhoven), Rafael van der Vaart (Tottenham Hotspur), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV Eindhoven)
Forwards: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke 04), Ola John (Twente Enschede), Luuk de Jong (Twente Enschede), Siem de Jong (Ajax Amsterdam), Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool), Jeremain Lens (PSV Eindhoven), Luciano Narsingh (Heerenveen), Robin van Persie (Arsenal), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)
Source: BBC, The Guardian; Photo credit: Diver & Aguilar