Van der Vaart to miss World Cup

The Netherlands’ former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Rafael van der Vaart has been ruled out of the World Cup after suffering a thigh injury, Sky Sports has reported.

The 31-year-old was hurt during training and will not be included in the final 23 of Coach Louis van Gaal, according to a statement on the Dutch team’s website. “Rafael van der Vaart will miss the World Cup in Brazil,” the statement confirmed.

“The Holland international has a calf strain in his right leg. Louis van Gaal has therefore decided not to include him in the final selection.”

Van der Vaart has 109 international caps and is the captain of the Oranje. He joins fellow midfielder Kevin Strootman on the sidelines for the tournament after the Roma man was injured in March.

The Netherlands play Spain in their opening group game, a repeat of the 2010 final that saw La Roja victorious through an Andres Iniesta goal. Chile and Australia make up the rest of Group B.

Van der Vaart joined Tottenham from Real Madrid in the summer of 2008 and spent two years at White Hart Lane, making 78 appearances and scoring 28 goals. He later left for Hamburg, where he had played before moving to Spain, and helped keep the club in the Bundesliga this season.

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