Netherlands goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen has been ruled out of Euro 2020 after testing positive for Covid-19.
Cillessen was initially included in Frank de Boer’s final 26-man squad for the European Championship, alongside fellow keepers Maarten Stekelenburg and Tim Krul.
The Valencia star was in line to start the opening group game against Ukraine on June 13 before being diagnosed with coronavirus last week, and has now been replaced by AZ’s Marco Bizot in the squad.
De Boer explained his decision to drop Cillessen ahead of the Netherlands’ upcoming warm-up games against Scotland and Georgia, insisting he couldn’t afford to take any risks with the 32-year-old’s ongoing recovery.
“I informed Jasper of my decision this morning,” the head coach told a press conference on Tuesday. “Let me start by saying that I find this incredibly unpleasant for Jasper.
“But I had to take the plunge. He is known to have tested positive for corona. As a result, he missed an important part of the preparation.
‘We don’t know how long it will take until he is 100 per cent fit again. I don’t want to take any chances in that regard.
“We are on the eve of a European Championship and I want certainty, however, I think it is for Jasper. I find it very sad for Jasper, I actually have the most to do with it.
“But I do think it is justified. He wouldn’t make it to the first game anyway, and you don’t know what else it does to your body. I now have three fit players at my disposal.”
In the absence of Cillessen, Ajax keeper Stekelenburg and Norwich City’s Krul will likely battle it out for the number one jersey, with Bizot set to take up a back-up role.
Krul played in all three of the Netherlands’ World Cup qualifying matches in March, with Cillessen out injured at the time, while Stekelenburg had to be content with a spot on the bench.
The Oranjes were drawn alongside Ukraine, Austria and North Macedonia in Group C for this summer’s tournament, which is set to kick off on June 11.
After their meeting with Ukraine, De Boer’s side will have four days to prepare for a clash with Austria before wrapping up their pool schedule against North Macedonia on June 21.