Chicken curry blamed for Netherlands squad problems ahead of France game
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Netherlands will be without five of their squad for the start of their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, and a chicken curry is being blamed.
Euro 2024 qualification kicked off on Thursday night, with England getting some revenge on Italy for the Euro 2020 final by defeating Roberto Mancini's side, as Harry Kane broke the national team record.
The international break continues throughout the next few days and World Cup runners up France kick off their campaign to reach Germany next summer against Netherlands.
With Louis van Gaal having led the Dutch in their campaign in Qatar, it's now up to Ronald Koeman to take the reigns, because only them, Dick Advocaat and Frank de Boer seem to be allowed to hold the position.
Koeman's first game sees his side come up against a France side that is now being captained by Kylian Mbappe, a decision that has reportedly not gone down well with Antoine Griezmann.
But he has his own problems to concentrate on, with Cody Gakpo, Matthijs de Ligt, Sven Botman, Joey Veerman and Bart Verbruggen, all pulling out of the squad.
The news of Gakpo worried Liverpool fans but it seemed like the players only pulled out due to the flu, but there is another theory.
According to De Telegraaf journalist Mike Verweij, there is a belief within the squad that a chicken curry is at the centre of making the players ill.
"In and around the Dutch National Team there is strong belief that the chicken curry - served yesterday evening by the staff - is the reason why De Ligt, Botman, Gakpo, Veerman and Verbruggen got ill and had to leave," Verweij reported.
The situation could be compared to the time in May 2006 when Tottenham Hotspur players were struck down with illness ahead of the last game of the season.
Spurs lost to West Ham, allowing Arsenal to finish above them in the top four, and clinch Champions League football, with a dodgy lasagne blamed for the issues.
Certainly the absences are a blow to Koeman's side, with Gakpo in impressive form during the World Cup, which no doubt hastened Liverpool's interest in him.
De Ligt has also been a huge presence for them in defence, whilst Botman has been in excellent form for Newcastle United this season.
Midfielder Veerman and goalkeeper Verbruggen were both earning their first call ups to the national team, so missing out certainly is a personal setback for them.
Bayern Munich's Ryan Gravenberch and Inter Milan defender Stefan de Vrij have been brought in as replacements, as has Vitesse's Kjell Scherpen, maybe avoid the curry lads.
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Topics: Football, Netherlands, Cody Gakpo, Matthijs De Ligt, France, Euro 2024, Ronald Koeman