World Cup - De Jong to be fit in time to face Argentina?

Nigel de Jong could make a surprise return to the Netherlands team for their World Cup semi-final against Argentina, according to reports.

Eurosport
World Cup - De Jong to be fit in time to face Argentina?
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Nigel de Jong steht nach seiner Verletzung vor der Rückkehr ins Team.

The midfielder had been ruled out of the whole tournament after suffering a thigh injury during their second round win over Mexico.

However, according to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, the midfielder has taken part in training this week and could be fit in time for the game in Sao Paulo on Wednesday.

According to the paper, the Dutch camp have been trying to keep De Jong's progress quiet, but he has been spotted training with the rest of the squad, apparently ahead of schedule in his recovery from injury.

The return of the tough-tackling midfielder would be a huge boost to the Dutch, who will need as much help as they can get in keeping Lionel Messi quiet.

Meanwhile, Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal has been praised by his squad for the way he has managed the side during the tournament.

Van Gaal's decision to bring Tim Krul on as a specialist penalty-saver for the shoot-out against Costa Rica, the success of which made him look like a genius.

"You've seen his CV," said De Jong. "He is a fantastic coach and over the years he has got a lot of experience in these situations.

"That reflects also on the group. If he is calm, and if somebody from the group makes the right decisions you can take it over easily. He is just one of a kind, in his way of working and especially the tactical discipline he has got for the team. But the tactical changes he makes in games is a new experience for me."

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Arjen Robben concurred: "We have a superb trainer, a coach who works magic like this all the time. Nobody knew about what he was going to do, apart from one goalkeeper."

Robin van Persie praised the new Manchester United manager's preparation: "He prepares for everything. The coach speaks with everyone, discusses the systems, so we all know we will be ready when something happens.

"This is the power of the manager. It is not easy to create a team like this, but if you want to do something, you have to go in the same direction and he is the perfect manager to make that happen."

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