Van Persie & Sneijder already on the plane, Elia & Afellay fighting for a ticket - The 23 players the Netherlands may be taking to Euro 2012 breaks down how Euro 2012's leading contenders are likely to pick their squads for Poland and Ukraine. In this feature, we look at Bert van Marwijk's Holland

By Stefan Coerts | Dutch Football Editor

Euro 2012 may still be seven months away, but, with group qualification over and both the play-offs and the draw for the finals to be completed in the next few weeks, the key preparations for Poland-Ukraine are well underway.

Qualified nations only have a handful of friendlies remaining before the competition kicks off on June 8 in Warsaw, and each coach will already know the majority of the squad he wishes to take. thus breaks down how Euro 2012's top nations - England, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain - are likely to go about selecting their 23-player rosters.

We move through each positional department - goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and attackers - and divide the candidates into 'Definites', 'Probables' and 'Possibles'. Definites are those who are pillars of the team, indispensable and irreplaceable stars who will only miss out on the finals in the most extraordinary of circumstances such as serious injury. For example, Xavi of Spain or Gianluigi Buffon of Italy. Probables are those who are likely to go, but are not so indispensable that they are immune to being cut. Possibles are all the players who are fighting for the last places in the squad that are yet to be determined. Underneath these listed candidates, we then explain in detail the reason for our choices.

Below is a full rundown of how the Netherlands' 23 places could be taken.

Maarten Stekelenburg
Tim Krul
Newcastle United
Michel Vorm
Kenneth Vermeer

Maarten Stekelenburg has developed into one of the best goalkeepers around in Europe in the past few years and there's little doubt that the Roma man will be Oranje's No.1 at Euro 2012. The former Ajax player was one of the stars of last year's World Cup and has proven to be an extremely reliable custodian.

National team coach Bert van Marwijk is not the type of boss to experiment, and he has consistently called upon Michel Vorm and Tim Krul as Holland's back-up goalkeepers. Both are first choice at their respective clubs and there's little reason to think one of the two could miss out on the final squad.

NAC goalkeeper Jelle ten Rouwelaar and Ajax's Jasper Cillessen have both made the Netherlands squad since the 2010 World Cup, but the former has been far from impressive at club level, while the latter has mainly been warming the bench since his move to Amsterdam. Therefore Ajax glovesman Kenneth Vermeer seems a more likely option to make it to Poland-Ukraine in the event that something happens to Stekelenburg, Vorm or Krul.

John Heitinga
Joris Mathijsen
Gregory van der Wiel
Khalid Boulahrouz
Erik Pieters
Patrick van Aanholt
Vurnon Anita  Ajax 
Edson Braafheid  Hoffenheim
Jeffrey Bruma
Ron Vlaar Feyenoord
Gianni Zuiverloon Mallorca

Although defence is not exactly Holland's strongest area, three players at the back already appear to be certain to make it to Poland-Ukraine. Gregory van der Wiel has been a regular in the past few years and is slowly finding his best form after a poor period, while both Joris Mathijsen and John Heitinga are undisputed starters for Van Marwijk.

Left-back Erik Pieters has cut an impressive figure in the games he's played so far for Oranje, but it seems too early to say that he will make the squad regardless of the circumstances. However, like Stuttgart's Khalid Boulahrouz, the PSV star will probably get a call-up for Euro 2012 if he maintains his form and avoids injury.

This leaves three positions that are still up for grabs - and there are several candidates for the vacant spots. Both Jeffrey Bruma and Ron Vlaar will be hopeful of boarding the plane next year as back-ups for Heitinga and Mathijsen, while Vurnon Anita and Edson Braafheid will have to fight it out for the position as second-choice left-back. Full-backs Gianni Zuiverloon and Patrick van Aanholt both have yet to make their senior debut for the World Cup finalists, but could be surprise inclusions if one of their rivals is forced to withdraw due to injury.

Mark van Bommel
AC Milan
Wesley Sneijder
Rafael van der Vaart
Tottenham Hotspur
Nigel de Jong
Manchester City
Kevin Strootman
Ibrahim Afellay
Theo Janssen Ajax
Hedwiges Maduro Valencia
Stijn Schaars Sporting Lisbon
Georginio Wijnaldum  PSV

Mark van Bommel is not only Oranje's skipper, but he's also indispensable in midfield for the Dutch. The Milan man directs play and wins numerous challenges to keep the team balanced, and he will definitely make the final squad.

A little higher up the pitch, attacking midfielder Wesley Sneijder is considered to be one of the best players in the world in his position, and the Inter star is a certainty in Van Marwijk's squad. Another who can already book his ticket is Rafael van der Vaart. The Spurs man is not always assured of a starting berth, but is Holland's vice-skipper as well as their most experienced player.

Nigel de Jong is no longer the undisputed starter he was at the 2010 World Cup, but he's proved his worth in the past and would be wise not to book a holiday during Euro 2012, while PSV's Kevin Strootman is also likely to travel to Ukraine-Poland following his impressive rise to prominence.

There are a number of candidates for the remaining midfield slot. If he recovers from his knee injury in time, Ibrahim Afellay seems to be sitting in pole position due to his versatility, while Georginio Wijnaldum will also be dreaming of wearing the Oranje jersey next year. Theo Janssen, Stijn Schaars and Hedwiges Maduro are sitting in the waiting room in case one of their colleagues is hit by injury.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
Robin van Persie Arsenal
Arjen Robben
Bayern Munich
Dirk Kuyt
Ryan Babel
Derk Boerrigter
Royston Drenthe  Everton 
Eljero Elia Juventus
Luuk de Jong Twente
Jeremain Lens PSV

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar had to settle for a spot on the bench at the 2010 World Cup, but the Schalke man has developed into Oranje's undisputed No.9 since. The striker is on his way to becoming Holland's all-time top goalscorer and is the second most prolific attacker in Europe behind Lionel Messi at the moment.

Another attacker who is a definite for next year's tournament in Poland-Ukraine is Robin van Persie. The former Feyenoord star has been in superb form for Arsenal and leads the scoring charts in the Premier League. Additionally, he can play both on the right wing and as a centre forward, and will be one of the first players on Van Marwijk's list.

Arjen Robben might be one of the most injury prone attackers around in Europe, but the Bayern Munich star is also one of the most dangerous wingers. Thus, the former Real Madrid star is a dead-certainty in the Oranje squad, even if he isn't fully fit.

Dirk Kuyt has never had to worry about his spot in Oranje in the past few years, but his situation at Liverpool could prove to be a problem for Van Marwijk if he doesn't get more playing time.

Eljero Elia was also a regular, but his lack of first-team action at Juventus has forced the Oranje coach to drop the winger, and the former HSV attacker can only hope his situation changes. Luuk de Jong and Jeremain Lens have also been called up several times in the past few months, but neither of the two is assured of a spot in the squad for Euro 2012. Ryan Babel, Derk Boerrigter and Royston Drenthe are the remaining candidates for a position out wide, but all three will have to impress Van Marwijk in the remainder of the season if they are to make the plane.

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The midfielder will not regret his decision to stay put as head coach Gertjan Verbeek gave him the chance to prove his worth in the Europa League match versus BATE Borisov in December 2010 and Maher rewarded the AZ boss for the faith shown in him by scoring on his debut.