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Van der Vaart sours Dutch mood further

sports Updated: Jun 12, 2012 23:59 IST

Dutch vice-captain Rafael van der Vaart added to the turmoil within the Euro 2012 squad on Tuesday by saying he was extremely disappointed at not having started their opening match against Denmark.

The 29-year-old attacking midfielder — who came on late in the second-half of the surprise 1-0 defeat — joined striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in expressing his annoyance at being ignored by coach Bert van Maarwijk.

It couldn’t have come at a worse time as the Dutch need a result in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday in their Group B game if they are not to be thinking of booking tickets home early just two years after they pushed Spain all the way in the World Cup final.

Dutch media had reported Huntelaar, who was angry at Robin van Persie being preferred up front for the Danish match, van der Vaart and defensive midfielder Nigel de Jong, who was annoyed at being substituted on Saturday, held talks with van Marwijk in which they expressed their disappointment.

Van der Vaart — like the other two part of the Dutch squad that reached the 2010 World Cup final only to lose to Spain — said he would not hold his tongue when it came to speaking out. “I am very disappointed,” van der Vaart was quoted as saying on the specialist website Voetbal International. “The coach has his preferences, I am not part of them and I don’t think that is going to change. We have seen in the past few years that the coach does not make changes to the starting line-up easily.

“It is great to have a nucleus of first choice players, a lot less so for those who have to sit on the bench. I will continue to give 100% but at the same time I have the right to express my disappointment.”