THE HAGUE, May 28 – Netherlands manager Bert van Marwijk unveiled his 23-man World Cup squad on Thursday, with four home-based players missing the trip to South Africa.The quartet who failed to survive the axe from van Marwijk’s preliminary list of 27 were Orlando Engelaar (PSV Eindhoven), Vurnon Anita (Ajax), Jeremain Lens (AZ Alkmaar) and Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord).
Defender Vlaar’s World Cup hopes ended on Tuesday when he suffered an injury at the squad’s Austrian training camp, forcing him out of Wednesday’s 2-1 warm-up win against Mexico.
Engelaar and Anita failed to impress in Thursday’s win while Lens faced stiff opposition for a place in Holland’s attack.
One who survived Thursdays’s cull was Liverpool striker Ryan Babel despite the ankle problem he suffered in training last Friday.
"He’s once again fine to play," assured van Marwijk, who also gave the thumbs up to Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong, who had been complaining at the start of the week of a knee injury.
Holland, whose squad features Inter Milan’s Champions League winner Wesley Sneijder, claimed victory over Mexico in Freiburg thanks to a double strike from Arsenal attacker Robin van Persie.
The Dutch face Denmark, Japan and Cameroon in the first round group stage in South Africa next month.
Goalkeepers: Michel Vorm (FC Utrecht), Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax), Sander Boschker (FC Twente)
Defenders: Khalid Boulahrouz (VfB Stuttgart/GER), John Heitinga (Everton/ENG), Joris Mathijsen (HSV Hamburg/GER), Andre Ooijer (PSV Eindhoven), Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord), Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax), Edson Braafheid (Celtic/SCO),
Midfielders: Ibrahim Afellay (PSV), Nigel de Jong (Manchester City/ENG), Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan/ITA), Stijn Schaars (AZ Alkmaar), Demy de Zeeuw (Ajax), Mark van Bommel (Bayern Munich/GER), Rafael van der Vaart (Real Madrid/ESP)
Forwards: Ryan Babel (Liverpool/ENG), Eljero Elia (HSV Hamburg/GER), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (AC Milan/ITA), Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool/ENG), Robin van Persie (Arsenal/ENG), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich/GER)