Uncapped Xavi Simons in Dutch World Cup squad, Cillessen out

ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) — Uncapped attacking midfielder Xavi Simons was included Friday in the Netherlands' World Cup squad, while veteran goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen did not make coach Louis van Gaal's roster for the tournament in Qatar.

Van Gaal also selected injured stars Memphis Depay of Barcelona and Bayern Munich's Matthijs de Ligt in his 26-player squad.

Depay, who has scored 42 goals in 81 internationals, hasn’t featured since injuring a hamstring while playing for the Netherlands against Poland in September. De Ligt is recovering from a knee injury.

Simons, 20, earned his call-up with a strong first half of the domestic season with Dutch league leader PSV Eindhoven after transfering from Paris Saint-Germain. Born in Amsterdam, the player named in honor of Spain World Cup winner Xavi Hernández, went through Barcelona's youth academy before moving to Paris.

One of the surprise omissions was Cillessen, who famously was substituted by Van Gaal shortly before a penalty shootout in the 2014 World Cup quarterfinals against Costa Rica. Van Gaal brough on reserve goalkeeper Tim Krul who saved two penalties as the Netherlands won to advance to the semifinals, where it lost to Lionel Messi’s Argentina – also after penalties.

The Netherlands opens its World Cup campaign against Senegal on Nov. 21. Van Gaal’s team also plays Ecuador and host nation Qatar in the group stage.

The Netherlands has reached three World Cup finals — in 1974, '78 and 2010 — and lost them all. The country’s only major title came at the 1988 European Championship.


The Netherlands:

Goalkeepers: Justin Bijlow (Feyenoord), Andries Noppert (Heerenveen), Remko Pasveer (Ajax)

Defenders: Nathan Aké (Manchester City), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Denzel Dumfries (Inter Milan), Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen), Matthijs de Ligt (Bayern Munich), Tyrell Malacia (Manchester United), Jurriën Timber (Ajax), Stefan de Vrij (Inter Milan), Daley Blind (Ajax)

Midfielders: Steven Berghuis (Ajax), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Teun Koopmeiners (Atalanta), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Xavi Simons (PSV Eindhoven), Kenneth Taylor (Ajax)

Forwards: Steven Bergwijn (Ajax), Memphis Depay (Barcelona), Cody Gakpo (PSV), Vincent Janssen (Antwerp), Luuk de Jong (PSV), Noa Lang (Club Brugge), Wout Weghorst (Beşiktaş)


AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

The Associated Press