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Dutch manager Frank Rijkaard faces an anxious wait after one of his prized assets, the mountainous Jaap Stam, picked up an achilles tendon injury while playing for Manchester United FC. Stam's mobility was clearly not what it should be as he allowed Tottenham Hotspur FC striker Chris Armstrong to steal in and score with a diving header after 19 minutes of the English Premier League encounter and he was promptly substituted by United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

With the deadline for final squad selections fast approaching and opportunities for players to prove their fitness becoming scarce, Stam's injury could prove a body blow for the Netherlands and their coach Frank Rijkaard. Stam has been a crucial component at the heart of the Dutch defence ever since making his debut in 1996. Rijkaard has already lost PSV Eindhoven striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy to injury and will be anxiously awaiting news from Old Trafford of how seriously Stam has been injured.

The injury will also be a big blow to Stam's hopes of establishing himself as one of the world's undisputed premier defenders this summer after the Dutchman's disappointing performances in the FIFA World Cup in 1998.
 
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