Rio De Janeiro: Four regular starters missed full training for the Netherlands as the team prepared for its final World Cup Group B match against Chile on Monday.
Arjen Robben, Daley Blind and Nigel de Jong jogged around the pitch at Rio club Flamengo’s training complex and did not appear seriously injured.
Defender Bruno Martins Indi sat out the entire session as he continued his recovery from a mild concussion suffered in his team’s hard-fought 3-2 win over Australia on Wednesday.
His teammates welcomed him back to the group with a round of applause before he went indoors.
Robin van Persie said he did not know if Martins Indi would travel with the team to its final group-stage match.
“I don’t know. But it’s going well. He came back yesterday,” Van Persie said.
“He’s doing well. He rode an exercise bike today and hopefully he can join us again soon.”
One player who will definitely be missing against Chile is Van Persie himself after he picked up his second yellow card of the tournament in the Australia match and earned an automatic one-match suspension.
The Netherlands’ all-time top scorer, who has found the net three times so far in Brazil, sounded bitter that he will have to sit out the match in Sao Paulo between two teams already qualified for the round of 16 that will decide the group winner.
He was booked against Australia for putting his hand in the face of defender Matthew Spiranovic as they both challenged for the ball.
“I’ve seen it back quickly and I have serious doubts if it should have been a yellow card because I had absolutely no intention to hit him in his face,” Van Persie said.
I was looking at the ball, there was a bit of pushing and pulling — that happens. I thought a yellow card was a bit over the top,” he added.
“But the fact is that I got it and am going to miss the match. Luckily we’re already through.”
Van Gaal will again be faced with the decision of what system to play against Chile, just as he was against Australia, when he started with five defenders, three midfielders and two attackers before switching to the traditional attacking 4-3-3 system at halftime.
If Martins Indi is not available to play because of his concussion, Van Gaal might again opt for 4-3-3, although he has other defenders in his squad who could start.
Only Van Persie and Ron Vlaar spoke to reporters after training, but said they did not know which system Van Gaal would opt for.