NETHERLANDS vs MEXICO, Freiburg, 26 May 2010
Both the Netherlands and Mexico have named the provisional World Cup squads that will take part in the next UFWC title match on 26 May. Both sets of players will be keen to make the right impression in order to ensure they are on the plane to South Africa in June. And, of course, they will be desperate for a UFWC victory…
Dutch coach Bert Van Marwijk has named a 30-man preliminary squad. It includes star names such as Robin van Persie, Mark van Bommel, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Rafael van der Vaart and Dirk Kuyt. Other players familiar to British football fans include Edson Braafheid of Celtic, John Heitinga of Everton, Ryan Babel of Liverpool and Nigel de Jong of Manchester City. There was no room in the squad for Ruud van Nistelrooy (who must surely be nursing a long face), and Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has retired from international football.
Mexico’s Javier Aguirre has already trimmed his squad down to 24, with his side’s warm-up preparations well underway. The Mexicans face England two days before the title match against the Dutch, and also have pre-tournament games lined up against Gambia and Italy. Included in the squad are Rafael Márquez, brothers Jonathan and Giovani dos Santos, and Alberto Medina. Medina scored in a 1-0 win over Chile on Sunday. New Manchester United signing Javier Hernández will hope to lead the attack, and Carlos Vela of Arsenal and Guillermo Franco of West Ham are also in the squad. Oddly, Aguirre has only included five recognised midfielders, which could prove costly if injuries occur.
The match will take place at a neutral venue – the Badenova-Stadion in Freiburg, Germany. The Dutch, of course, go into the game as UFWC title holders. They’re 5th in the UFWC rankings, having won 40 title matches, just one less than 4th-placed Russia. Mexico have only ever won one title match – against Czechoslovakia at the World Cup in 1962 – and are ranked 40th. FIFA rank the Netherlands 4th in the world, with Mexico ranked 17th.
The Dutch preliminary squad is: Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax), Sander Boschker (FC Twente), Michel Vorm (FC Utrecht); Vurnon Anita (Ajax), Khalid Boulahrouz (Stuttgart), Edson Braafheid (Celtic), Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord), John Heitinga (Everton), Joris Mathijsen (HSV), Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord), Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax), Andre Ooijer (PSV); Otman Bakkal (PSV), Mark van Bommel (Bayern Munich), Wout Brama (FC Twente), Orlando Engelaar (PSV), Nigel de Jong (Manchester City), David Mendes da Silva (AZ), Stijn Schaars (AZ), Wesley Sneijder (Inter), Rafael van der Vaart (Real Madrid), Demy de Zeeuw (Ajax), Ibrahim Afellay (PSV); Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool), Jeremain Lens (AZ), Eljero Elia (HSV), Ryan Babel (Liverpool), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (AC Milan), Robin van Persie (Arsenal), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich).
The Mexican preliminary squad is: Óscar Pérez (Chiapas), Guillermo Ochoa (América ), Luis Ernesto Michel (Guadalajara), Rafael Márquez (Barcelona), Ricardo Osorio (Stuttgart), Francisco Rodríguez, Carlos Salcido (both PSV Eindhoven), Héctor Moreno (AZ Alkmaar), Paul Aguilar (Pachuca), Efraín Juárez (Pumas UNAM), Jonny Magallón (Guadalajara), Jorge Torres Nilo (Atlas), Andrés Guardado (Deportivo La Coruna), Jonathan dos Santos (Barcelona), Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Israel Castro (Pumas UNAM), Giovani dos Santos (Galatasaray, on loan from Tottenham), Forwards: Pablo Barrera (Pumas UNAM), Adolfo Bautista, Alberto Medina (both Guadalajara), Cuauhtémoc Blanco (Veracruz), Carlos Vela (Arsenal), Javier Hernández (Manchester United), Guillermo Franco (West Ham).