Netherlands team blame chicken curry for illness to the squad
The Netherlands national football team will be without five of its squad for their opening match of the Euro 2024 qualifiers against France, and a chicken curry is being blamed.
Cody Gakpo, Matthijs de Ligt, Sven Botman, Joey Veerman and Bart Verbruggen have all withdrawn from the team.
There was some initial concern among Liverpool fans about Gakpo, but it appeared the players had only pulled out due to the flu. However, according to De Telegraaf journalist Mike Verweij, there is a belief within the squad that a chicken curry served by the staff is responsible for the players’ illnesses.
“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 is reminiscent of Tottenham Hotspur’s 2006 last day of the season game against West Ham, where they lost, allowing Arsenal to finish above them in the top four and clinch Champions League football. Spurs players were struck down with illness ahead of the game, and a dodgy lasagne was blamed.
The absences are a significant blow to Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman’s side. Gakpo was in impressive form during the World Cup, which hastened Liverpool’s interest in him.
De Ligt has been a significant presence in defence, while 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 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.