Goalkeeper Sander Boschker and midfielder Denny Landzaat are the first victims of Marco van Basten's task of reducing his UEFA EURO 2008™ squad to 23 players.
Van Basten has taken the initial step in culling his numbers following the 3-0 friendly victory against Ukraine on Saturday. As fourth-choice goalkeeper, FC Twente's Boschker was not a surprise omission as the 37-year-old had only been called up for the first time to the provisional squad, unlike regular selections Edwin van der Sar, Maarten Stekelenburg and Henk Timmer.
Landzaat was one of four players that appeared to be vying for three midfield places – Nigel de Jong, Demy de Zeeuw and Orlando Engelaar were the others – but Van Basten's choice appeared to be made given his praise of Engelaar after the Ukraine match. "When he plays like this, we can only be satisfied," said the coach. "He has left an excellent impression. He played a lot of football and showed good positional play – it was all very positive."
Van Basten is likely to choose between defenders Khalid Boulahrouz, Mario Melchiot and André Ooijer as he seeks to cut his numbers by one more player before the 28 May deadline. Boulahrouz has made his mark but the decision may come down to whether Melchiot recovers sufficiently from his groin injury.
"We do not need all three of them," admitted Van Basten. "We have seen Khalid work with the ball last week, and on Saturday, and he made a good impression. But Mario has played the whole season long while Khalid has been out for the whole season. So we have to wait and see how it will work out on Monday."
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