Soccer

Danny Blind replaces Van Persie with Robben as Netherlands captain for Euro qualifiers

Kim Jin-su of Hoffenheim, right, challenges for the ball with Munich's Arjen Robben during the Germany Soccer Bundesliga match between TSG Hoffenheim and Bayern Munich in Sinsheim, southern Germany, Saturday Aug. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Daniel Maurer)

Kim Jin-su of Hoffenheim, right, challenges for the ball with Munich's Arjen Robben during the Germany Soccer Bundesliga match between TSG Hoffenheim and Bayern Munich in Sinsheim, southern Germany, Saturday Aug. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Daniel Maurer)  (The Associated Press)

Arjen Robben has been made captain of the Netherlands in Danny Blind's first squad since taking over from Guus Hiddink as national coach, replacing striker Robin van Persie.

Blind said Friday he needs a captain with more on-field presence as his team heads into two crucial European Championship qualifiers against Group A leader Iceland and Turkey.

Blind, who replaced Hiddink last month after the veteran trainer's contract was terminated following a disappointing start to the Netherlands' qualification campaign, gave two teenaged Ajax defenders, Jairo Riedewald and Kenny Tete, debuts in the national squad.

The Netherlands is third in qualifying Group A, five points adrift of Iceland and three points behind the Czech Republic.

The Dutch take on Iceland on Thursday at the Amsterdam Arena and travel to Turkey for Sunday's game in Konya.