Babel out of Netherlands' final Euro 2020 qualifier

By Sports Desk November 18, 2019

Ryan Babel has pulled out of the Netherlands squad ahead of Tuesday's final Euro 2020 qualifier against Estonia.

The Galatasaray forward was not "intact" after the 0-0 weekend draw with Northern Ireland and has returned to his club, according to statement from the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB).

Babel, 32, started in Belfast and lasted until the 90th minute before making way for defender Nathan Ake.

Ronald Koeman has now lost three of the players who started Saturday's stalemate, which was enough to confirm the Oranje's qualification for Euro 2020.

Virgil van Dijk was released from the squad for personal reasons, while Martin de Roon is suspended after receiving a third yellow card.

Netherlands are two points behind Group C leaders Germany going into their meeting with bottom-placed Estonia in Amsterdam.

Babel scored twice as Koeman's men ran out 4-0 winners when the teams met in Tallinn in September.

Related items

  • Reus: BVB need 'perfect' season to beat Bayern to Bundesliga title Reus: BVB need 'perfect' season to beat Bayern to Bundesliga title

    Marco Reus accepts Borussia Dortmund require a "perfect season" if they are to finally end Bayern Munich's Bundesliga dominance.

    Bayern took 58 points out of a possible 60 from their last 20 games of the 2019-20 campaign to win the league for an eighth successive season, with Dortmund 13 points behind in second place.

    BVB were just four points behind Bayern when the season resumed in May after the coronavirus-enforced break, but the Bavarian club never looked back after Joshua Kimmich scored the winner at Signal Iduna Park on May 26.

    Dortmund have finished runners-up to Bayern in five of the previous eight seasons and BVB captain Reus acknowledged his team have to be virtually flawless.

    "There's a lot of speculation it's because of this, or that, but you basically have to have a perfect season," he told BVB TV.

    "Last year we had an almost perfect season and this year... I wouldn't say it was almost perfect because there were too many games before Christmas when we dropped points - Paderborn, Frankfurt, Freiburg - those games in particular, with goals in the 90th minute. Of course, other clubs can say the same.

    "But in the second half of the season we showed that we'd got that consistency.

    "I think since Lucien [Favre] came in we've gained that consistency throughout the season. It hasn't yet been enough to win the big prize, but you can see that we've got closer."

    Reus, who is still yet to win a Bundesliga title, feels beating Bayern in Munich would be a huge step for Dortmund.

    In the previous three seasons, Bayern have beaten Dortmund 6-0, 5-0 and 4-0 in the Bundesliga, and BVB's most recent league win in Munich was in April 2014 when Reus scored in a 3-0 victory.

    "Basically, it's important to win the games against Bayern as they're our main rivals," Reus said.

    "That's what will make the main difference and it has made the difference in the last few years.

    "We've looked good in the home games, apart from this season when we lost, but we have to start winning away games in Munich to give ourselves the best chance of winning the title.

    "The most important thing for me is to get that consistency in our performances and in our results, and if we get that we'll win the league.

    "Over the last eight years Bayern have been better at it than every other club and we're on the right track to break through that ceiling.

    "We have to keep going and keep working hard on that consistency in our performances and results.

    "But ultimately if you win a game 1-0 at the weekend, two days later no one cares how you won the game and everyone just looks at the result.

    "That's how it is for Bayern - they don't win every game 4-0 or 5-0 with scintillating football. They simply win their games and that's what makes you German champions."

  • Should Bale leave Madrid? We are all united, says Zidane Should Bale leave Madrid? We are all united, says Zidane

    Zinedine Zidane brushed off a question about Gareth Bale's future at Real Madrid, insisting the team is united.

    Bale has played just 100 minutes for Madrid in LaLiga since the competition returned from its three-month hiatus amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Despite not spending much time on the pitch, the 30-year-old, who remained at the club after a move to Jiangsu Suning broke down following Zidane's return last year, has continued to make headlines.

    During the 2-0 victory over Deportivo Alaves last week he was seen on camera with his face mask over his eyes, before turning and laughing with his team-mates.

    He then simulated holding a pair of binoculars in front of his face while he watched Madrid's meeting with Granada on Monday from the stands at Los Carmenes.

    Asked if Bale should leave Madrid, Zidane told a news conference: "What a question.

    "You try to put things between us, but you won't be able to. Every day you ask the same thing. You can do it; you have the right to ask what you want.

    "But we're united. Gareth, James [Rodriguez], everyone."

    Madrid will be crowned LaLiga champions if they beat Villarreal at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on Thursday.

  • IFAB extends option for five substitutes into 2021 IFAB extends option for five substitutes into 2021

    The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has extended the option for competitions to allow five substitutes per team in every match into 2021.

    Football's rules governing body took the decision to give competitions scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020 the option to permit five subs back in May as leagues around the world resumed following widespread coronavirus-enforced stoppages.

    Its board of directors conducted an in-depth review to determine whether to extend the option following feedback from stakeholders and an assessment of COVID-19's impact on competition calendars.

    The board took the decision to extend it to competitions set to be completed by July 31, 2021 and to international competitions scheduled in July/August 2021.

    A FIFA media release said that the reasons for giving competitions the option remain valid and that player welfare will likely continue to be impacted due to the shorter-than-usual recovery and preparation period athletes in competitions that resumed in 2020 may have before the start of the 2020-21 season.

    The release also pointed to the condensed fixture schedule that is set to be a feature of most major competitions next term due to delayed starts and major international tournaments preventing a later end to the 2020-21 campaign.

    The Premier League, LaLiga, the Bundesliga and Serie A are all set to start in September and end in May, with Ligue 1 - which will commence in August - the lone exception among the top five European leagues.

    Euro 2020 - delayed to 2021 because of the pandemic - is scheduled to begin on June 11, as is the 2021 Copa America. Both competitions are set to finish on July 11.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.