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By ESPN Staff

Van Nistelrooy missing from Dutch party

ZEIST, Netherlands, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Netherlands coach Marco van Basten dropped striker Ruud van Nistelrooy in naming an 18-man squad to play Ireland in a friendly on Wednesday.

Van Nistelrooy, who joined Real Madrid from Manchester United last month, was left out along with midfielder Mark van Bommel.

'We are now preparing for qualification for the European Championships in two years and we had to make choices,' Van Basten told a news conference on Friday.

'In our opinion we picked the best squad and they will have our confidence for the coming period.'

Van Nistelrooy won the last of his 54 caps in the 0-0 draw with Argentina in their final group match at the World Cup finals in June. He was left on the bench throughout the second round defeat by Portugal.

Defenders Khalid Boulahrouz and Giovanni van Bronckhorst, sent off in the stormy defeat by Portugal, were not named in he squad as they are suspended for the opening Euro 2008 qualifier against Luxembourg next month.

Van Basten was delighted captain Edwin van der Sar, undisputed first choice since 1995, had decided to continue his international career and add to his 113 caps.

'We asked Edwin after the World Cup about his future and told him we wished him to continue,' added Van Basten.

'We are pleased with his decision because he impresses as man, captain and player.'

Van Basten claimed his decision to omit van Bommel and van Nistelrooy from the squad was because he had more trust in other players.

Neither Primera Liga-based star has made the cut as the coach looks to the future, but he did not rule out a return for either of the former PSV Eindhoven players.

'At the moment we think other players are better,'' said Van Basten.

'We want to go on with the selected group because we have more trust in those players.'

Both Van Nistelrooy and Van Bommel would appear to be paying the price for poor World Cups.

Barcelona midfielder Van Bommel and striker Van Nistelrooy, who moved to Real Madrid from Manchester United this summer, failed to shine in Germany as Holland crashed out in the second round to Portugal.

Van Nistelrooy was left on the bench for that match after severe criticism from Van Basten.

Significantly, young Ajax sharpshooter Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who is uncapped but whose omission from the World Cup squad still caused a stir, is named in the party and could make his bow for the Oranje senior team.

Meanwhile, Van Basten is hopeful Andre Ooijer can shake off a cold to line-up in Dublin.

'I understand that he has a mild cold,'' he added. 'I hope that he is better on Monday, that's all I know.

'We are selecting players on their football qualities so I hope that he can play.'


Goalkeepers: Henk Timmer (Feyenoord), Edwin van der Sar (Manchester United)

Defenders: Urby Emanuelson (Ajax Amsterdam), John Heitinga (Ajax Amsterdam), Tim de Cler (AZ Alkmaar), Kew Jaliens (AZ Alkmaar), Joris Mathijsen (AZ Alkmaar), Andre Ooijer (PSV Eindhoven)

Midfielders: Wesley Sneijder (Ajax Amsterdam), Stijn Schaars (AZ Alkmaar), Nigel de Jong (SV Hamburg), Rafael van der Vaart (Hamburg SV), Denny Landzaat (Wigan Athletic)

Forwards: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Ajax Amsterdam), Robin van Persie (Arsenal), Arjen Robben (Chelsea) , Dirk Kuyt (Feyenoord), Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink (PSV Eindhoven)