Dutch defender Khalid Boulahrouz was selected in the starting line-up to face Russia in their Euro 2008 quarter-final here on Saturday against Russia – just days after the tragic loss of Anissa, his prematurely born baby daughter.
The 26-year-old had told coach Marco van Basten he would be able to focus on the match despite his and wife Sabia's traumatic week.
Van Basten has taken him at his word and put him in against a Russian side coached by former Dutch national coach Guus Hiddink.
The Dutch team wore black armbands on Saturday as a mark of respect for the player and his family, while the Dutch supporters joined in with their own effort, as they sang in the first few minutes of the match “You'll never walk alone” (the famous hymn sung by Liverpool supporters)
The Dutch camp rallied round to offer moral support to the Sevilla defender, on loan from Chelsea, who cut short training suddenly on Wednesday to rush to a Lausanne hospital where Sadia, his five months pregnant wife, had been admitted over problems to do with her pregnancy.
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