at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
The Hague, Netherlands - Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk dropped Nigel de Jong from his squad Monday after the Manchester City midfielder was involved in a tackle that left Newcastle winger Hatem Ben Arfa with a broken left leg.
Van Marwijk said he saw “no alternative” but to drop De Jong from his squad to play Moldova and Sweden in two European Championship qualifiers.
“I will shortly speak to Nigel again, but now I am concentrating with the players and staff on the two important qualifiers coming up,” Van Marwijk said in a statement released by the Royal Dutch Football Association.
Van Marwijk told Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad that the tackle was “unnecessary and wild,” adding that he has “a problem with the way Nigel needlessly looks to push the limit.” The paper's football columnist Hugo Borst in a Sunday night television show called De Jong “a repeat offender, a criminal.”
De Jong has a history of hard tackles, including a chest-high challenge on Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso in the hard-fought World Cup final in South Africa that Spain won 1-0 after extra time.
In March earlier this year, United States midfielder Stuart Holden was left with a fractured leg after a challenge by De Jong in a friendly international, leaving Holden sidelined for six weeks.
Ben Arfa, who is on loan from Marseille, is expected to be out for a prolonged spell after x-rays confirmed he suffered a broken tibia and fibula of his left leg in the third minute of Sunday's match, which City won 2-1.
The forward underwent surgery at Manchester Royal Infirmary on Monday. Newcastle said the operation was a success but it was not possible to confirm how long Ben Arfa would be out for.
The tackle was not given as a foul, and De Jong escaped punishment from the referee.
Van Marwijk called up midfielders Urby Emanuelson of Ajax and FC Twente's Wout Brama to cover for De Jong and two injured players, Theo Janssen and Vurnon Anita. - Sapa-AP