Netherlands midfielder Nigel de Jong was dropped from the national soccer squad after the Manchester City player’s tackle broke the leg of Newcastle forward Hatem Ben Arfa yesterday.
Holland manager Bert van Marwijk left De Jong, 25, out of two qualifiers for the 2012 European Championship, against Moldova on Oct. 8 and Sweden on Oct. 12, the Dutch soccer association KNVB said in a statement on its website today.
“Ben Arfa left the pitch heavily injured after a tackle by De Jong,” the KNVB said. “Van Marwijk had on previous occasions spoken with De Jong about his play.”
Van Marwijk, who guided Holland to the World Cup final in July, told the team he “saw no other possibility” but to remove De Jong from the squad. “I will talk to Nigel again very soon. But right now, I’d like us and the players to focus entirely on these two important qualification matches,” he said on the website.
The Holland manager had described De Jong’s tackle against Ben Arfa as “wild and unnecessary,” Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad said earlier today.
“I don’t think he does it on purpose, but he is going in way too hard,” Van Marwijk told the paper. “That is a shame, because he doesn’t need to do that at all. The funny thing is that the referee didn’t even give him a yellow card.”
Ben Arfa was carried off five minutes into yesterday’s game in Manchester, which City went on to win 2-1 to go second in the Premier League. He was found to have sustained a broken tibia and fibula in his left leg.
World Cup Final
Spain claimed its first world title with a 1-0 win over the Netherlands in a final where 14 yellow cards were brandished by English referee Howard Webb. Nine cautions went to the Dutch, including two for John Heitinga who was sent off as a result, and the team came under fire in the media amid accusations of rough play.
Video replays showed De Jong kicking Xabi Alonso’s chest midway through the first half, an offense that might have prompted a straight red card. He received a caution.
“The final was not exactly what I expected in terms of fair play,” Sepp Blatter, head of soccer’s governing body, told reporters in Johannesburg the day after the final.
Former Ajax player De Jong joined Manchester City from Hamburg in January last year in a 17 million-pound ($26.9 million) deal.
His acquisition was part of a spending spree that has seen Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan spend more than 350 million pounds on players since buying the club in 2008.