Injured Dutch captain Sneijder ruled out of World Cup qualifier against France
Feyenoord's Tonny Vilhena will replace the 32-year-old Sneijder in Monday's game against France at the Amsterdam Arena. Photograph: (AFP)
Netherlands captain Wesley Sneijder has been ruled out of Monday's World Cup qualifier against France after the midfielder aggravated a hamstring injury on Saturday.
Coach Danny Blind said he had anticipated Sneijder's absence and called up Feyenoord's Tonny Vilhenna as cover, immediately after the game with Belarus.
Sneijder hobbled off at halftime in Friday’s 4-1 Group A win over Belarus in Rotterdam but had hoped to recover in time for the meeting with the European Championship runners-up at the Amsterdam Arena.
“France will be a difficult opponent. Their players are used to being involved in top matches every weekend, they are physically strong, which means we need to take them head-on,” Blind told a news conference in Alkmaar on Sunday.
The Dutch football federation said on Saturday that Feyenoord's Tonny Vilhena will be filling in for Sneijder.
The coach kept his line-up and tactics close to his chest but did hint at strengthening the defence or midfield for Monday’s match.
The Netherlands are top of the competitive Group A with four points after two games.
France, who came from behind to thrash Bulgaria in Paris, are second and Sweden third, also on four points.
(WION with inputs from agencies)