Çakır to officiate Netherlands-Italy match, Sneijder out of Dutch squad
FIFA-ranked Turkish referee Cüneyt Çakır will be officiating the Netherlands-Italy friendly at the Amsterdam Arena on Wednesday evening.
Çakır had a special request from the Dutch Football Federation to be the referee of what is expected to be a mouth-watering match at the Arena. His assistants will be Bahattin Duran, Tarık Ongun and the fourth official will be Dutch-born Turk Serdar Gözübüyük. Kickoff is at 9:30 p.m. and the match will be aired live on Bugün TV.
Newly signed Galatasaray midfielder and playmaker Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart and Arjen Robben have been left out of the Netherlands squad for Wednesday's game against Italy because they have failed to play regularly at club level, coach Louis van Gaal said. Defenders John Heitinga and Gregory van der Wiel and goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg were also omitted by Van Gaal for the same reason.
“It was difficult to follow our criteria but only in the case of Robben was there a temptation to call him,” van Gaal told reporters. “But I didn't and that will give other players the opportunity to prove if they can reach their club level at this stage as well."
Sneijder joined Galatasaray during last month's transfer window after being sidelined for four months at Inter Milan through injuries and a contract dispute.
AS Roma's Stekelenburg had hoped to secure a loan move to Premier League Fulham, but the deal fell through when the Serie A club failed to find a replacement.
Daley Blind, son of Van Gaal's assistant Danny Blind, and Swansea's Jonathan de Guzman received their first call-ups to the Dutch squad. The Dutch top the 2014 World Cup qualifying Group D with 12 points after four matches.