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Dutch put De Jong and Schaars on standby

Written by: Staff
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TITISEE, Germany, June 6 (Reuters) Dutch coach Marco van Basten put midfielders Nigel de Jong and Stijn Schaars on World Cup standby as his players headed for Germany today.

De Jong has recovered from the knee surgery that kept him out of the full squad. Schaars was captain of the team that won the under-21 European Championship last Sunday in Portugal.

They have been put on standby as a precaution because Philip Cocu, Rafael van der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder and Giovanni van Bronckhorst are all injured.

Before the final warm up match against Australia last Sunday, Van der Vaart, who suffered a fresh ankle injury last week, was Van Basten's only concern.

However, injuries to Cocu (thigh), Van Bronckhorst and Sneijder (both ankle), sustained during the 1-1 draw against Australia, forced Van Basten to take precautions.

De Jong will travel directly to the Dutch base in Hinterzarten in southern Germany, while Schaars will join the squad that will leave the Netherlands this afternoon.

Van Basten has until Saturday afternoon to decide if he will replace one of his injured players.

The Dutch, beaten finalists in 1974 and 1978, open their World Cup campaign on Sunday against Serbia and Montenegro in Leipzig.

REUTERS DH BST1808

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