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"The intellectualisation
of football has
always foundered
on a simple problem-
-the players. Doing
all your most
rewarding thinking
with your feet seems
to dull the philo-
sophical impulse.
Unless, of course,
you are Dutch.
According to legend,
Europeans played
a moronic, muscular
version of the world's
game, until Holland
proclaimed its vision
of total football in the
1974 World Cup,
and enlightenment
dawned."

From:
Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football
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UEFA Euro 2012 Poland & Ukraine
Group E - Qualifications

Van Marwijk drops Nigel de Jong

5 October 2010

Holland boss Bert van Marwijk has dropped Nigel de Jong for the upcoming Euro 2012 qualifiers against Moldavia and Sweden because of his tough tackle on Hatem Ben Arfa in Saturday's match between De Jong's club Manchester City and Newcastle.

The French midfielder suffered a double fracture of his left leg after the tackle for which De Jong was not booked. Ben Arfa is expected top be out at least six months.

A Dutch pundit dubbed De Jong "a criminal" on Dutch TV.

Van Marwijk decided to drop De Jong after the two had a talk on Monday.

Tackle
The tackle on Ben Arfa was not the first time De Jong (25) has drawn attention for his hard-hard game. In March of this year he broke the leg of American player Stuart Holden and this summer, on the biggest football stage possible (the final of the World Cup) he planted his right foot on the chest of Spain-midfielder Xabi Alonso. For the challenge on Alonso he got a yellow card. The tackle on Holden went without a sanction. In other recent games (against Red Bull Salzburg and Wigan Athletic) De Jong also went over the edge with his challenges, without much further damage though.

Bert van Marwijk called De Jong's tackle 'wild and unnecessary" after first seeing it, yet before he had decided to drop the player: "I don't think he tried to hurt Ben Arfa, but he goes in much too hard. That's a shame, because he doesn't need it. It's odd that the referee doesn't even give him a yellow card for it. Apparently they hold different standards there. I am troubled by the way Nigel keeps looking for the limits."

After he had decided to drop De Jong Van Marwijk said little about it: "I have told the other players I had no other options. I shall have a good chat with Nigel in the very near future. But now me and the staff of the Dutch team will have to focus on the other players and prepare them for the upcoming qualifiers."

Team mates
De Jong's team mates are unhappy about the situation. "Nigel remains one of us. We are all very much bothered by this. But I understand the bondscoach," said Bayern Munich-captain Mark van Bommel.

"I shall call Nigel. I believe that's the best thing to do now," said Ruud van Nistelrooy. "I can not say whether I find this measure good or bad. We will have to carry on. These are the circumstances. It has been a strange day after the coach explained to us why he dropped Nigel. This has hit us all in the face. It's happened and we're all very sorry for it."

Brama to replace De Jong
Van Marwijk has named Wout Brama of FC Twente to replace De Jong. He has one cap to his name. Urby Emanuelson has also been added to the squad to replace his injured Ajax-team mate Vurnon Anita.

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