Roberto Martinez named his 26-man squad of Belgium that will be travelling to Qatar for World Cup. Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku makes it to the squad despite fitness concerns. The Red Devils will look to go one step further than last edition after a third place finish at Russia.
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Golden generation looking to end the trophy drought
Belgium’s golden generation will be having another opportunity to finally end their trophy drought. The only success of the team at national level being a Olympic gold in 1920, Martinez’s men will go to Qatar with a the goal of winning the tournament. With majority of the key players in their mid 30s, this could probably be the last dance of the golden generation.
Kevin De Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens and Jan Vertonghen are the players who have been carrying the hopes and expectations of their whole nation. Toby Alderweireld, Youri Tielemans, Axel Witsel will have key roles in the Belgium squad to help the team progress.
Concern over Lukaku’s fitness and Hazard’s form
Romelu Lukaku moved back to Inter Milan on loan after a tough stint with Chelsea for his second spell. The Belgian striker has suffered with injury and has only two appearances for Inter since August. “He is not completely fit medically, that is clear, but the last three days has been very positive. We will give Romelu every second to be fit”, Martinez said.
“At this stage, we feel he will be able to take part in at least one of those three (Group F) games. But we will keep assessing and have up until November 22 to make a decision. His situation is similar to [Axel] Witsel’s in the run-up to the previous European Championship. Or Vincent Kompany’s in 2018 [ahead of the World Cup]. It is not an exceptional situation for us. We want him to play as big a role as he can give.”
Eden Hazard will be leading the Red Devils despite being sidelined at Madrid. Hazard has been on decline ever since a switch to Spanish capital. Martinez however counts on his captain to lead them from the front and put behind these tough days.
“I am looking for Eden to come as captain of the squad and show what an incredible player we have. He is enjoying his football, I can see that, the only concern is the match fitness,” the head coach said.
Belgium’s 26-man squad for 2022 FIFA World Cup
Goalkeepers : Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid/Spain), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge/Belgium), Koen Casteels (VfL Wolfsburg/Germany).
Defenders : Jan Vertonghen (Anderlecht/Belgium), Toby Alderweireld (Antwerp/Belgium), Wout Faes (Leicester/England), Arthur Theate (Rennes/France), Zeno Debast (Anderlecht/Belgium), Thomas Meunier (Borussia Dortmund/Germany), Timothy Castagne (Leicester/England).
Midfielders : Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City/England), Youri Tielemans (Leicester/England), Amadou Onana (Everton/England), Axel Witsel (Atletico Madrid/Spain), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge/Belgium), Leander Dendoncker (Aston Villa/England), Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid/Spain), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund/Germany).
Forwards: Eden Hazard (Real Madrid/Spain), Charles De Ketelaere (AC Milan/Italy), Leandro Trossard (Brighton/England), Dries Mertens (Galatasaray/Turkey), Jeremy Doku (Rennes/France), Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan/Italy), Michy Batshuayi (Fenerbahce/Turkey), Lois Openda (Lens/France).