Football: Bergkamp back on the bench for Dutch

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The Independent Online
DENNIS BERGKAMP, the Arsenal striker who had looked likely to miss at least the first two of the Netherlands' fixtures at France 98, has been passed fit and could play in their opener against Belgium at St Denis tomorrow.

The 29-year-old has recovered from the hamstring problem which has been affecting him for weeks. However, he may have to settle for a place on the bench. "It's going very well at the moment," he said. "I don't think I can play a full game yet, though. Maybe I could come on in the second half. Belgium is probably too early for me."

The news was not so good, though, for the defender Frank de Boer, who managed only light training after twisting his left ankle on Monday.

Belgium's coach, Georges Leekens, yesterday left the veteran midfielder, Enzo Scifo, out of his team to play the Netherlands - just weeks after talking him into joining the squad.

The 32-year-old played in the 0-0 draw with England in Morocco last week but Leekens has decided to do without him tomorrow.

"There's no point in letting them dictate play. If we leave them the freedom of the park right up to our penalty box we'll get into trouble. We have to go to take the fight to them," Leekens said. He has Gordan Vidovic in his team even though the defender is doubtful because of injury.

Tunisia's coach, Henry Kasperczak, has confirmed that Chokri El Ouaer will be his goalkeeper against England in Marseilles on Monday, in preference to his main rival, Ali Boumnijel.

Cameroon have sent home Serge Kwetche - because he is suffering from malaria. Fifa, world football's ruling body, has allowed the Africans to replace the 21-year-old midfielder with Abanda Jouan.

BELGIUM (v the Netherlands, St Denis, tomorrow): De Wilde; Crasson, Staelens, Vidovic, Borkelmans, Van der Elst, Clement, Boffin, Wilmots, Nilis, Oliveira.

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