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van der Sar and John in Dutch squad

Fulham pair Edwin van der Sar and Collins John have been called up to the Dutch national side for their World Cup Qualifying Match against the Czech Republic on Wednesday 8th September 2004.

John earns first Dutch senior call-up

Fulham forward Collins John has been called up to the Dutch senior squad for the first time.

The talented youngster enjoyed a dream start to his Fulham career scoring four goals in eight appearances after signing from FC Twente last January. John has been named alongside club team-mate Edwin van der Sar in the squad for Holland’s friendly against Sweden on 18 August.

van der Sar delighted with Dutch progress

Holland goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar said his team’s qualification from Group D to the quarter-final stage has given them a new lease of life.

Germany’s defeat to an under-strength Czech Republic and Holland’s win over Latvia saw the Dutch go through.

And Van der Sar jokingly described it as: “The return of the living dead.”

He told BBC Sport: “We had not packed our suitcases but the chance was there because it was not in our hands.”

The Fulham keeper said the Dutch team had been confident the Czech Republic, who beat Holland in 3-2 in a thrilling match on Saturday, would overcome Germany.

He said: “Of course the most important thing was to win our game.

“And we knew that if we played like we did against the Czech Republic we would not lose this game.

“We needed some help from the Czech Republic and we knew some players did not play for them but beforehand we always had a good feeling about it.”

With Holland now through to a quarter-final match against Sweden, Van der Sar is confident his team can fulfil their dream of winning Euro 2004.

“We’re back on our feet now and three games to go – every match is a final,” he said.

“I think we are starting to play better and that is a good thing.

“Sweden is a good team with good strikers, a strong midfield. Hopefully it will be a nice match like it was against the Czechs but with a different result.”

Ruud van Nistelrooy scored twice and substitute Roy Makaay added the third as Holland beat Latvia 3-0.

Stolcers seeks Dutch shock

Andrejs Stolcers is enjoying every minute of Lativa’s Euro 2004 adventure.

The unfancied Baltic battlers could make the last eight with a win over Holland in Braga this evening after an excellent goalless draw against Germany.

The Fulham midfielder has been inspired by their outstanding displays so far.

Stolcers said: “This is fantastic for Latvia. The whole country is supporting us and we want to give them further joy. We scored against the Czechs, we drew against Germany and now we want to go a step further by beating Holland.”

van der Sar doubt for Dutch opener

Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar is a doubt for Holland’s opening Euro 2004 match against Germany on Tuesday after injuring his finger in training.

The Fulham goalkeeper, 33, pulled out of training on Friday after damaging a finger in his right hand.

However Clarence Seedorf has taken part in training for the first time since picking up a thigh injury.

Dutch coach Dick Advocaat has already confirmed Rafael van der Vaart will start in midfield ahead of Seedorf.

Meanwhile Advocaat has hinted Chelsea’s £12m new signing Arjen Robben may not make the starting team against Germany on Tuesday.

Advocaat wants to deploy two wingers for the Germany game and has to choose between Robben and Andy van der Meyde.

Advocaat said: “Robben feels he’s ready to play but I was disappointed when he came on against the Republic of Ireland, it did not go seamlessly.

“Andy is looking better – he’s coming on well and looking good in practice.”