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Page last updated at 15:28 GMT, Thursday, 19 June 2008 16:28 UK

Boulahrouz ready for Russia game

Khalid Boulahrouz
Boulahrouz celebrates the 2-0 win over Romania win with his wife Sabia

Khalid Boulahrouz is available for the Netherlands' Euro 2008 quarter-final against Russia after the death of his prematurely-born baby daughter Anissa.

The defender, who played in all three of his side's Group C victories, left the Dutch camp on Wednesday after his wife, Sabia, was hospitalised.

Boulahrouz returned to training on Thursday and should start in Basel.

"He told me, 'I am a football player and I am available on Saturday'," said Netherlands coach Marco van Basten.

"Khalid indicated early on Thursday that he had given the events a special place. He thanked the players and staff and wants to move on.

"Khalid is experiencing a dreadful time but he reacted like an adult and wanted the squad to focus on the quarter-final with Russia."

After enduring a disappointing season on loan from Chelsea at Sevilla, Boulahrouz was a surprise inclusion in Marco van Basten's final squad for the tournament.

But he has excelled in Austria and Switzerland, helping shore up a defence that has conceded only one goal to date.

"Players and staff of the Dutch team are upset by the death of Anissa, the daughter of Khalid Boulahrouz and his wife Sabia, who was born prematurely," the Dutch Football Federation said in a statement.

Sabia was at the finals with the other players' partners and girlfriends.

Dutch captain and goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, one of several players to visit the hospital, added: "His family is not here, so we felt we should be there for him.

"Khalid is a very strong person and has reacted really well."


see also
Netherlands 2-0 Romania
17 Jun 08 |  Euro 2008
Netherlands 4-1 France
13 Jun 08 |  Euro 2008
Netherlands 3-0 Italy
09 Jun 08 |  Euro 2008
Netherlands team guide
15 May 08 |  Netherlands
Pick your Netherlands XI
23 May 08 |  Netherlands


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