Dutch lose Gakpo, De Ligt and others for France clash due to virus

Dutch lose Gakpo, De Ligt and others for France clash due to virus

Liverpool forward Cody Gakpo has been forced to leave the Netherlands' squad for their upcoming games against France and Gibraltar after a viral infection spread through the Dutch camp.

Five players including Gakpo have pulled out of the squad ahead Friday's opening Euro 2024 qualifier against France in Paris.

The Dutch FA (KNVB) confirmed on Thursday that Gakpo and Newcastle defender Sven Botman had left the training camp along with Matthijs de Ligt, Joey Veerman and Bart Verbruggen.

They provided no further details on the nature of the virus or whether any other players had been affected.

Bayern Munich midfielder Ryan Gravenberch, Inter Milan defender Stefan de Vrij and Vitesse Arnhem goalkeeper Kjell Scherpen have been called up as replacements for those that have left.

The KNVB confirmed they would review the squad after potentially call up further players after the France game.

Gakpo's illness is worrying news for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who is already sweating over the fitness over Darwin Nunez.

The Uruguayan was set to feature in this month's friendly matches against Japan and South Korea.

However, he did not join up with the Uruguay squad after suffering a cut to his ankle in Liverpool's Champions League defeat to Real Madrid earlier this month.

Another setback for Koeman

The viral infection is a major blow for Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman, who had already lost Frenkie de Jong and Steven Bergwijn to injuries earlier this week.

The match against France will be the first of his second spell in charge of the national side.

He replaced Louis van Gaal as manager in January following the World Cup in Qatar, where the Netherlands were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by eventual winners Argentina.

After taking on the French at the Stade de France, the Netherlands will next face minnows Gibraltar in Rotterdam on Monday.

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