sport

Van der Vaart to miss Brazil

Netherlands midfielder Rafael van der Vaart will miss the World Cup in Brazil due to a calf injury.

The injury occurred in training on Tuesday, the final straw in an illness and injury-plagued year for the 31-year-old.

A statement on the KNVB's website on Wednesday morning confirmed the 109-times capped midfielder would not be in the final 23-man squad, which is due to be named on Saturday.

"Rafael van der Vaart will miss the World Cup in the Brazil," the statement said.

"The Holland international has a calf strain in his right leg.

"Coach Louis van Gaal has therefore decided not to include him in the final selection."

The former Spurs midfielder sustained the injury during an individual session at a training camp in Portugal.

Van der Vaart would have been van Gaal's most experienced player in the squad for the tournament this summer.

He is the second important loss to the Dutch squad after fellow midfielder Kevin Strootman suffered a season-ending knee injury in March.

Three-time runner-up the Netherlands opens its World Cup campaign in Salvador on June 13 with a repeat of the 2010 final against Spain.

Van Gaal's team also plays Australia and Chile in Group B.