Monday 29 December 2014

Netherlands line up without a player with “Van” in their name for the first time in 20 years

Published 23/06/2014 | 16:53

Robin van Persie of the Netherlands waves after the 2014 World Cup Group B soccer match against Australia at the Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegre June 18, 2014.  REUTERS/Marko Djurica (BRAZIL  - Tags: SOCCER SPORT WORLD CUP)
Robin van Persie of the Netherlands waves after the 2014 World Cup Group B soccer match against Australia at the Beira Rio stadium

Van down! Stop everything. Take a breath. We have some serious news. Robin van Persie is suspended for tonight’s potentially exceptional Holland v Chile match. This means that his team will have a non-grand total of zero players with “Van” in their names in their starting line-up.

This has not happened since a 1996 friendly against China, which we’re sure you need no reminding of, but here’s a YouTube video just in case:

Holland won that match 2-0, of course, unforgettably. A similar result tonight would be vantastic. VAN-tastic. VANTASTIC? Sorry.

The last time Holland were Vanless in a World Cup they lost 1-0 to Belgium in the 1994 World Cup. Franky van der Elst played for the Belgians on that day. Oh, the ironing.

None of this would have happened if it hadn’t had been for the poor form of men with ven Gregory van der Wiel and Rafael van der Vaart. The one match van-ban will likely come to an end in the next round, when Van Persie returns.

Here is the Netherlands starting lineup: Cillessen, Blind, Vlaar, De Vrij, Kuyt, De Jong, Wijnaldum, Janmaat, Sneijder, Lens, Robben.

Subs: Vorm, Martins Indi, de Guzman, Verhaegh, Veltman, Kongolo, Clasie, Fer, Huntelaar, Depay, Krul.

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