AMSTERDAM - New Netherlands coach Guus Hiddink recalled midfielder Ibrahim Afellay for his teams opening European Championship qualifier against the Czech Republic and a warm-up friendly against Italy as he begins building on the legacy of Louis van Gaals World Cup campaign. Koen Casteels Jersey . Afellay, who is on loan to Olympiakos from Barcelona, has had an injury-plagued career since moving from PSV Eindhoven — where Hiddink gave him his first-team debut — to Barcelona. His last international appearance was almost two years ago. Veteran midfielder Rafael van der Vaart and Stoke City defender Erik Pieters also are back in the Dutch squad for Hiddinks first matches since taking over from Van Gaal after the Netherlands third-place finish at the World Cup. Van der Vaart missed the World Cup through injury, but Hiddink still appears to want his experience in the squad alongside a player tipped by many as his long-term replacement, Ajax midfielder Davy Klaassen. Hiddinks 25-man squad is based around the successful team beaten by Argentina in a semifinal penalty shootout in Brazil. Van Gaals team then beat demoralized host Brazil 3-0 to earn third place. Manchester United striker Robin van Persie is expected to keep the captains armband and play up front alongside World Cup star Arjen Robben. The Dutch play Italy in Bari on Thursday and take on the Czechs in Prague on Sept. 9 in their first Euro 2016 Group A qualifier. The Italy friendly will be the first match in Hiddinks second spell in charge of the Netherlands. He previously led a talented young team to the semifinals of the 1998 World Cup in France, where it lost on penalties to Brazil. ____ Squad: Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen (Ajax), Tim Krul (Newcastle), Jeroen Zoet (PSV Eindhoven). Defenders: Daley Blind (Ajax), Daryl Janmaat (Newcastle), Bruno Martins Indi (Porto), Erik Pieters (Stoke), Joel Veltman (Ajax), Paul Verhaegh (Augsburg), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Stefan de Vrij (Lazio). Midfielders: Ibrahim Afellay (Olympiakos), Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord), Leroy Fer (Queens Park Rangers), Nigel de Jong (AC Milan), Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Rafael van der Vaart (Hamburg), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV). Forwards: Memphis Depay (PSV), Klaas Jan Huntelaar (Schalke), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce), Jeremain Lens (Dinamo Kyiv), Robin van Persie (Manchester United), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich) Romelu Lukaku Belgium Jersey . Berkman almost left the game last off-season before signing with the Texas Rangers. He then had another injury-plagued season and was limited to 73 games. Dries Mertens Jersey . Lineup news, Fantasy and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking. HEROES St. Louis Blues – After rolling the San Jose Sharks for seven goals, for the second time in a week, the Blues have a bunch of players on hot streaks.The BC Lions will be without one of their top defenders when they take on the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Field Sunday in the Western Semi-Final. Solomon Elimimian did not make the trip with the team after suffering what appeareed to be a right leg injury in the teams regular season finale against the Calgary Stampeders. Toby Alderweireld Belgium Jersey. Elimimian was tied for second on the team in tackles with 73 and was named a West Division All-Star this season. ' ' '