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Aissati fitness boost for Jong Oranje

Published: Monday 11 June 2007, 21.00CET
The Netherlands are confident midfielder Ismaïl Aissati will play again during this tournament after scans revealed no new damge to his troubled right knee.
by Berend Scholten
from Langezwaag

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Published: Monday 11 June 2007, 21.00CET

Aissati fitness boost for Jong Oranje

The Netherlands are confident midfielder Ismaïl Aissati will play again during this tournament after scans revealed no new damge to his troubled right knee.

Netherlands midfielder Ismaïl Aissati will remain with the squad after an MRI scan revealed no new damage had been done to his troubled right knee during the 1-0 victory against Israel.

Relief
It had been feared the tournament might be over for Aissati after he hobbled off late in the first half on Sunday with the recurrence of a problem that has been troubling him since the 2006 UEFA European Under-21 Championship. The Netherlands camp, however, were relieved to learn nothing out of the usual had shown up in the scan. The 18-year-old playmaker did not train with his team-mates on Monday and is unlikely to play against Portugal on Wednesday, yet could feature again before the competition is over.

'Positive'
"The news is more positive than we expected, but I don't know how he will be for the rest of the tournament," coach Foppe de Haan said. "It's not easy to replace him because he has such quality, but of course we won't be taking any risks because he has a long career ahead of him." If the PSV Eindhoven midfielder fails to recover in time, De Haan is likely to deploy Otman Bakkal, who replaced Aissati against Israel, or Luigi Bruins in the centre. The Netherlands top Group A with three points, two more than Belgium and Portugal who drew 0-0 in Sunday's other match.

Last updated: 12/06/07 16.06CET

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