Blind: I'm delighted to have Robben back

Danny Blind has urged his Netherlands side to beat Belgium for the first time in almost two decades, but revealed Arjen Robben will be rested in order to preserve him for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifier in Luxembourg.

The Oranje haven’t defeated Les Diables Rouges since goals from Jaap Stam, Patrick Kluivert and Dennis Bergkamp secured a 3-1 victory in 1997. The Belgians are unbeaten in their six meetings thereafter.

Blind is determined to triumph in the friendly at the Amsterdam ArenA on Wednesday, 9 November, but wants Robben, who won his 88th and last cap against Wales one year ago, in peak shape for the preliminary in Luxembourg City four days later.

“We haven’t done well against Belgium recently,” said the 55-year-old Ajax legend. “It’s time to put that right.

“Arjen won’t play though. He recently returned from injury. He’ll sit it out and prepare for the game against Luxembourg. I’m very happy that he is back fit and playing. Everybody knows how important Arjen is for us.”

The Netherlands are third in Group A, three points behind France and Sweden.

Belgium lead the Netherlands 12-10 on World Cup appearances. The Oranje have nevertheless reached the semi-finals or Final in five of the last eight editions in which they have participated.

Arjen Robben of the Netherlands reacts

Danny Blind has urged his Netherlands side to beat Belgium for the first time in almost two decades, but revealed Arjen Robben will be rested in order to preserve him for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifier in Luxembourg.

The Oranje haven’t defeated Les Diables Rouges since goals from Jaap Stam, Patrick Kluivert and Dennis Bergkamp secured a 3-1 victory in 1997. The Belgians are unbeaten in their six meetings thereafter.

Blind is determined to triumph in the friendly at the Amsterdam ArenA on Wednesday, 9 November, but wants Robben, who won his 88th and last cap against Wales one year ago, in peak shape for the preliminary in Luxembourg City four days later.

“We haven’t done well against Belgium recently,” said the 55-year-old Ajax legend. “It’s time to put that right.

“Arjen won’t play though. He recently returned from injury. He’ll sit it out and prepare for the game against Luxembourg. I’m very happy that he is back fit and playing. Everybody knows how important Arjen is for us.”

The Netherlands are third in Group A, three points behind France and Sweden.

Belgium lead the Netherlands 12-10 on World Cup appearances. The Oranje have nevertheless reached the semi-finals or Final in five of the last eight editions in which they have participated.