AMSTERDAM (AP) – PSV Eindhoven defender Erik Pieters pulled out Monday of the Netherlands squad for the European Championship this summer after tests showed he would not recover from a foot injury in time.
Pieters has played 15 internationals since making his debut in 2010 and was considered coach Bert van Marwijk's first choice at left back.
Van Marwijk said that Pieters' absence was a blow to his team's preparations, ''but it is particularly bitter news for Erik.''
The Netherlands plays Denmark, Germany and Portugal in Group B at the tournament that runs from June 8 to July 1 in Poland and Ukraine.
News of 23-year-old Pieters' absence came just hours after Van Marwijk named the defender in a provisional 36-man squad.
Van Marwijk also included Barcelona midfielder Ibrahim Afellay in his preliminary squad despite Afellay's long absence this season due to injury.
The 25-year-old Afellay underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left knee in October. The midfielder has only made three appearances for Barcelona so far this season.
The Dutch squad for next month's tournament includes 10 of the 11 starters of the 2010 World Cup final, which the Netherlands lost 1-0 to Spain.