HOENDERLOO, May 12 – Veteran Ruud van Nistelrooy was the big name missing from the provisional 30-man Netherlands squad for the 2010 World Cup, announced by the team's coach Bert van Marwijk on Tuesday.The 34-year-old striker, who has scored 33 goals in his 64 international appearances, moved from Real Madrid to Hamburg this season in an ultimately fruitless bid to increase his playing time and impress the coach.
"I congratulated Ruud: he has made great efforts to try to push for his selection," said Van Marwijk.
"But he has been inactive for a very long time because of his knee problems. It was tough for him to come back to his old level."
There are eight forwards in the squad
Also missing from the squad is AC Milan’s Clarence Seedorf, but that comes as no surprise as he has never been picked by Van Marwijk, who will cut this squad to 23 on June 1.
The Dutch – who have yet to win the World Cup despite reaching two finals in 1974 and 1978 – have been drawn in Group E alongside Denmark, Japan and Cameroon for the June 11-July 11 World Cup in South Africa.
They have friendlies slated against Mexico (May 26), Ghana (June 1) and Hungary (June 5).
Goalkeepers: Michel Vorm (FC Utrecht), Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax), Sander Boschker (FC Twente)
Defenders: Vurnon Anita (Ajax), Khalid Boulahrouz (Stuttgart/GER), John Heitinga (Everton/ENG), Joris Mathijsen (Hamburg/GER), Andre Ooijer (PSV), Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord), Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax), Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord), Edson Braafheid (Celtic/SCO)
Midfielders: Ibrahim Afellay (PSV), Orlando Engelaar (PSV), Nigel de Jong (Manchester City/ENG), Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan/ITA), Stijn Schaars (AZ Alkmaar), Demy de Zeeuw (Ajax), Wout Brama (FC Twente), David Mendes da Silva (AZ Alkmaar), Mark van Bommel (Bayern Munich/GER), Rafael van der Vaart (Real Madrid/ESP)
Forwards: Ryan Babel (Liverpool/ENG), Eljero Elia (Hamburg/GER), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (AC Milan/ITA), Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool/ENG), Robin van Persie (Arsenal/ENG), Otman Bakkal (PSV), Jeremain Lens (AZ Alkmaar), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich/GER)