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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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Holland recalls Rafael van der Vaart

Rafael van der Vaart was recalled to the Holland squad Friday for the World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Romania after proving his fitness to coach Louis van Gaal.

Van der Vaart sat out recent wins over Turkey and Hungary after suffering a disrupted preseason because of his move from Tottenham to Hamburg.

But he, along with fellow established internationals Nigel de Jong and Ibrahim Afellay, have been included for the doubleheader later this month.

De Jong and Affelay also were transferred late in the summer window, the former from Manchester City to AC Milan and the latter from Barcelona to Schalke.

But it is van der Vaart's return which is likely to be the most important with the former Real Madrid man likely to go straight into the side to replace the injured Wesley Sneijder.

"We concluded he is incredibly fit and that's good news because I already knew he is a great footballer,'' van Gaal said.

There were two new faces in van Gaal's 20-man party -- Ajax goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer and Feyenoord forward Ruben Schaken.

Holland plays Andorra in Rotterdam next Friday before visiting Romania four days later.

Although they were not named in the initial party, van Gaal is hoping Feyenoord defender Joris Mathijsen and Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben will be fit for the latter assignment in Bucharest.

"I hope and expect Mathijsen will play, Robben is more difficult,'' van Gaal said.

The Holland squad is:

Goalkeepers: Maarten Stekelenburg (Roma), Michel Vorm (Swansea), Vermeer (Ajax)

Defenders: John Heitinga (Everton), Janmaat (Feyenoord), Bruno Martins Indi (Feyenoord), Nick Viergever (AZ Alkmaar), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Ricardo Van Rhijn (Ajax)

Midfielders: Urby Emanuelson (AC Milan), De Jong (AC Milan), Kevin Strootman (PSV Eindhoven), Van der Vaart (Hamburg), Afellay (Schalke)

Forwards: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke), Jeremain Lens (PSV Eindhoven), Luciano Narsingh (PSV Eindhoven), Robin van Persie (Manchester United), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce), Schaken (Feyenoord)

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