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Rediff.com  » Sports » De Boer set to return for troubled Dutch

De Boer set to return for troubled Dutch

June 23, 2004 11:24 IST
Veteran defender Frank de Boer is set to make his 111th appearance for the Netherlands on Wednesday as the Dutch seek a win over Latvia that might keep their Euro 2004 hopes alive.

The Dutch and Latvians each have only one point from their opening two games in Group D. Both must chase a win and hope three-times champions Germany do not beat the already qualified Czech Republic, the only team with maximum points in the tournament.

The Dutch team trainDe Boer is the most likely replacement for the injured Wilfred Bouma at the heart of the Dutch defence. De Boer suffered a traumatic end to Euro 2000, missing a penalty during the match and another in the shootout as the Dutch lost in the semi-finals to Italy.

Michael Reiziger is expected to play in place of suspended right back Johnny Heitinga.

The mood in the two squads could not be more different.

Latvia, surprise qualifiers, are on a high after holding Germany to a 0-0 draw.

The Dutch press and fans have turned on coach Dick Advocaat for substitutions made during their 3-2 defeat by the Czech Republic last weekend. The Dutch led 2-0 but slipped to a late loss, taking their fate in the tournament out of their own hands.

The Dutch coach has a contract until the 2006 World Cup in Germany but there is a clause for a review after Euro 2004 which his side will depart on Wednesday night if the Latvians spring another surprise.

Improving with each match, Latvia believe in their chances of an even greater upset, a victory that might take them into the quarter-finals of their first major tournament.

Coach Aleksandrs Starkovs, the man responsible for putting Latvia's number one sport ice hockey temporarily in the shade, said: "We lost to the Czechs and drew with the Germans. All that's missing is to win."

Starkovs is almost certain to keep the same starting lineup for the third successive match with forward Marian Pahars again on the bench.

Probable teams:

Netherlands (4-3-3): 1-Edwin van der Sar; 2-Michael Reiziger, 15-Frank de Boer, 3-Jaap Stam, 5-Giovanni van Bronckhorst; 20-Clarence Seedorf, 8-Edgar Davids, 6-Philip Cocu; 7-Andy van der Meyde, 10-Ruud van Nistelrooy, 19-Arjen Robben

Latvia (4-4-2): 1-Aleksandrs Kolinko; 7-Aleksandrs Isakovs, 2-Igors Stepanovs, 4-Mihails Zemlinskis, 6-Olegs Blagonadezdins; 8-Imants Bleidelis, 14-Valentins Lobanovs, 3-Vitalijs Astafjevs, 10-Andrejs Rubins; 11-Andrejs Prohorenkovs, 9-Maris Verpakovskis

Referee: Kim Milton Nielsen (Denmark)

Linesmen: Lens Larsen (Denmark), Jorgen Jepsen (Denmark).

Source:
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