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USMNT’s Dest leaves Ajax camp in Qatar due to rising tensions

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USMNT defender Sergino Dest has asked to leave Ajax’s winter training camp in Qatar due to the ongoing tensions in the Middle East.

Dest, 19, requested to return to Amsterdam as the Dutch-American right back “didn’t feel comfortable” being in the region and Ajax revealed he will leave the camp.

The Dutch giants released the following statement confirming that Dest will return to the Netherlands to train with their reserve team while they continue their training camp and play two friendlies in Qatar during the Eredivisie winter break.

“Sergino Dest asked if he could leave the training camp of Ajax in Qatar. He didn’t feel comfortable. Ajax understands his request and has responded to it. The right back returns to Young Ajax in Amsterdam.”

Iran launched missile attacks on army bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq late Tuesday, as tensions continue to rise following an American drone strike which killed the leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s powerful Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani.

The USMNT were due to be at a training camp in Qatar this week but called it off at the last minute due to the escalation in the situation between the U.S. and Iran in the region, and this was understandably playing on Dest’s mind while he was in Qatar, which is located just across the Persian Gulf from Iran.

There is almost three years to go until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar kicks off (remember, it’s a winter tournament) and a lot could change between now and then but plenty of nations around the world, and FIFA, will be keeping a very close eye on this situation.

However, USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter recently said he was ‘hopeful’ they would return to train in Qatar before the 2022 World Cup.

Ajax’s Daley Blind has heart surgery

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Ajax and Netherlands star Daley Blind has undergone successful heart surgery after he was diagnosed with heart muscle inflammation.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Blind, 29, felt dizzy Ajax’s defeat to Valencia 10 days ago and has been undergoing medical examinations ever since.

Th Dutch giants revealed details on Blind’s condition in a statement released on Saturday, as he is now recovering from the operation.

“Daley Blind has been diagnosed with heart muscle inflammation. The central defender has undergone extensive medical examination in recent days, following the dizziness that briefly bothered him during the Ajax – Valencia match. It was then decided to place a subcutaneous ICD with Blind, a device that is applied under the skin.

“As a result of this intervention, which took place yesterday, the 29-year-old international will not start the training camp selection at the beginning of January, but will continue to work on his recovery in Amsterdam.”

Sergino Dest reveals he turned down both USMNT, Netherlands

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Sergino Dest is trying to figure it all out. Let’s give him some space.

The Dutch-American right back, still just 18 years old, is not in the latest USMNT squad and he has revealed that he turned down a place in the squad from both the U.S. and Netherlands national teams.

[ MORE: Should Dest chose USA or Holland? ]

Speaking after he played 90 minutes in Ajax’s 3-0 win at Valencia in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, Dest told Fox Sports in the Netherlands that he “needs to think carefully” and that he “hopes to have decided next month” regarding his international future.

After making his USMNT debut last month, Dest has spoken to USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter about his dilemma and it is believed the Netherlands have spoken to Dest in recent weeks, with head coach Ronald Koeman keen to get him on board with the Oranje.

This is a very tough situation for Dest, and one he probably didn’t expect to crop up so soon.

With the USMNT and the Netherlands both playing in games which would cap-tie him if over the next few months, the fact he’s burst onto the scene as a regular for Ajax this season has accelerated this decision.

Born in the Netherlands, Dest has played for the U.S. at youth national team levels and this is clearly a tough decision for him.

It is a very smart move to give himself time to evaluate what is best for his career and to which country he feels the strongest allegiance.

Below is the interview in Dutch in full, with Yahoo Sports’ Leander Schaerlaeckens translating for you.

VIDEO: Worst dive in history? Quite possibly

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Now, we’ve all become accustomed to seeing some of the ugly parts of the beautiful game.

Diving is undoubtedly one of the biggest problems we needed to clean up. And ridiculous videos like this one may help to do that.

Feyenoord’s Steven Berghuis got a little pat on his head from an opposition player at the weekend. It was a friendly ‘nice one, mate’ from Utrecht player Willem Janssen. That was it. Nothing more.

Yet this was how Berghuis reacted as he is being ridiculed across social media.

Now, we all know that ‘trying to win a free kick’ and other forms of embellishment are apparently part of the game. We don’t like it. But until VAR is commonplace at all levels of the game, players will continue to try and get away with whatever they can.

But incidents like this and some of Neymar’s antics this summer, coupled with the public ridicule that type of simulation has received, will surely act to dissuade future generations from attempting such outrageous levels of skullduggery.

We live in hope.

Word has it Berghuis is off to a swimming pool in Rotterdam on Monday to perfect his diving skills…

USMNT’s Miazga scores 3rd goal of season; Vitesse reach playoff

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American defender Matt Miazga scored his third goal of the season, helping Vitesse to a 2-2 tie at Willem II on Sunday, the final day of the Dutch Eredivisie season.

Miazga, a 22-year-old from Clifton, New Jersey, completing his second season on loan to Vitesse from Chelsea, tied the score 1-1 in the 63rd minute with his first goal since Feb. 2.

Vitesse finished sixth and advanced to a playoff for a Europa League berth along with fifth-place Utrecht, seventh-place Den Haag and eighth-place Heerenveen. Vitesse meets Den Haag in a two-leg round, with the winner advancing.