Boulahrouz given EURO chance
Sevilla FC defender Khalid Boulahrouz has been drafted into the provisional Netherlands squad for UEFA EURO 2008™, with four other players failing to make the cut after Marco van Basten trimmed his party.
AFC Ajax defender Urby Emanuelson, Kew Jaliens of AZ Alkmaar, Valencia CF's Hedwiges Maduro and PSV Eindhoven striker Danny Koevermans have all been sent home as Van Basten coordinates the team's final preparations, which kick off in Noordwijk on Tuesday. The quartet had originally been named as part of a 30-man squad, which was reduced to 29 this week following Clarence Seedorf's withdrawal.
The versatile former Chelsea FC defender Boulahrouz was not included in this provisional list but will team up with his colleagues on Tuesday. Once there, he will be required to prove his physical condition to Van Basten over the first five days of training, given that he has recently been declared fit again after months of injury trouble.
Meanwhile, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Arjen Robben and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink will report for duty on 23 May due to club commitments with Real Madrid CF and Celtic FC. In a similar vein, Wesley Sneijder and Edwin van der Sar will not arrive until 26 May, on account of their heavy workloads with Madrid and Manchester United FC respectively.
The definitive list of 20 outfield players and three goalkeepers will be presented to UEFA before the deadline on 28 May. The Netherlands have lined up friendlies at home against Ukraine on 24 May, Denmark five days later and Wales on 1 June before beginning the their Group C campaign against Italy in Berne on 9 June.