THE HAGUE, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben were left out of the Netherlands squad for the friendly against Italy on Wednesday February 6 in Amsterdam, Dutch coach Louis van Gaal announced on Friday in Zeist.
Besides Sneijder (Galatasaray) and Robben (Bayern Munich) he also ignored experienced internationals like John Heitinga (Everton), Maarten Stekelenburg (AS Roma), Rafael van der Vaart (Hamburger SV) and Gregory van der Wiel (Paris Saint-Germain).
The absence of these players was no surprise, because they were also not included in the provisional squad. All just returned from injuries or haven't played much for their clubs.
"I was tempted to select Robben, but he does not play a lot," Van Gaal said at the press conference.
Dutch captain Sneijder recently moved to Turkish side Galatasaray, but hadn't played for half a year for his previous employer Internazionale.
Canadian born Jonathan de Guzman was selected for the first time. The 25-year-old midfielder, currently playing for Swansea City, used to play for Feyenoord and gained Dutch citizenship in 2008. Ajax defender Daley Blind (22), the son of assistant Netherlands coach Danny Blind, was also named for the first time. Uncapped Ola John of Benfica received a call-up as well.
"They are in good form and are fit," Van Gaal explained the selection of this trio.
Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar was not in the pre-squad, but Van Gaal decided to call him up anyway, partly due to an Khalid Boulahrouz injury.
The match against Italy is the first for the Dutch team in 2013. The Netherlands, which tops Group D with twelve points from four matches, will play its next World Cup qualifying matches against Estonia and Romania in Amsterdam on March 22 and March 26 respectively.
Netherlands squad for friendly against Italy on February 6:
Goalkeepers: Kenneth Vermeer (Ajax), Michel Vorm (Swansea City), Tim Krul (Newcastle United).
Defenders: Daley Blind (Ajax), Daryl Janmaat (Feyenoord), Bruno Martins Indi (Feyenoord), Joris Mathijsen (Feyenoord), Ricardo van Rhijn (Ajax), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Stefan de Vrij (Feyenoord).
Midfielders: Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord), Marco van Ginkel (Vitesse), Jonathan de Guzman (Swansea City), Adam Maher (AZ), Kevin Strootman (PSV).
Forwards: Klaas Jan Huntelaar (Schalke 04), Ola John (Benfica), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce), Jeremain Lens (PSV), Robin van Persie (Manchester United).