Injured Strootman out of Dutch squad for crucial qualifiers

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Midfielder Kevin Strootman is not fit to play in the Netherlands’ final two World Cup qualifiers, dealing a blow to his country’s chances of reaching next year’s tournament in Russia.

The Dutch football association said Wednesday that the Roma player has a muscle injury and will not be fit in time for Saturday’s Group A match against Belarus in Borisov Arena or Tuesday’s clash with Sweden in Amsterdam.

The association says coach Dick Advocaat will not call up a replacement for Strootman.

The Netherlands, a World Cup semifinalist in Brazil in 2014 and losing finalist four years earlier in South Africa, is third in Group A, four points behind leader France and three adrift of second-placed Sweden.

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