04.10.2017 21:42 h

Injured Strootman out of Netherlands squad

Netherlands midfielder Kevin Strootman on Wednesday pulled out of the Dutch squad for their final 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and Sweden with a thigh muscle injury.

The Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) said in a statement that the 27-year-old Roma player "would not be fit in time" for the matches.

Head coach Dick Advocaat has not called up a replacement, as he looks to help the Dutch avoid missing out on back-to-back major tournaments for the first time in 32 years.

The three-time World Cup runners-up are third in Group A of European qualifying, four points adrift of leaders France and three behind second-placed Sweden.

They travel to Belarus on Saturday, before a potential straight fight for a play-off spot with Sweden in Amsterdam on Tuesday.