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How Belgium could line up against Canada

How Belgium could line up against Canada

Romelu Lukaku will not play any part in Belgium‘s World Cup opener with Canada on Wednesday, as the Inter Milan forward continues to recover from lingering injuries which have heavily disrupted his season so far.

Michy Batshuayi is favourite to deputise up front for Roberto Martinez‘s side, and after some inactive seasons in the Premier League of late, he has now found regular playing time in Turkey, where he has been scoring freely this campaign.

Lois Openda has had an excellent season at Lens in Ligue 1 too, but the fact that Batshuayi’s record for his nation has seen him score on average over a goal every two matches should give him the upper hand.

Eden Hazard is another who has struggled severely in some very tough years at Real Madrid, both with injury and a lack of form, but Martinez still trusts the former Chelsea man and he should start.

His brother Thorgan Hazard has lost his place in the national side of late, despite being arguably their best player at Euro 2020, but injury and very few starts at Borussia Dortmund recently mean that Timothy Castagne and Yannick Carrasco are more likely to start at left wing-back.

The Red Devils are a little thin on options in central midfield, with Axel Witsel enduring a tough season with Atletico Madrid so far, but they will he delighted that Youri Tielemans has played himself into form just in time for the finals after he also struggled in the early parts of the season.

Martinez has faced some criticism for not including enough young players, while remaining loyal to many of the same players who featured at this generation’s first major tournament in 2014.

Yari Verschaeren, Dodi Lukebakio and Albert Sambi Lokonga are among some of those youthful stars left out, while Alexis Saelemaekers has missed out with injury.

Teenager Zeno Debast is one youngster who has made it, and after Martinez left Dedryck Boyata and Jason Denayer at home, Debast looks set to start in a back three here.

He will play either side of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen should he start, and those two veterans will be under the spotlight as there have been questions about whether they should still get picked because both returned to Belgian football this summer to see out their careers.

Alderweireld can bring some knowhow of playing in Qatari conditions though as he has recently been playing for Al Duhail before his move to Antwerp.

Charles De Ketelaere is another youthful prospect who was named in the squad following his move to AC Milan, but this is probably a tournament too soon for him to get regular playing time.

However, Leandro Trossard has proved that he is well capable to be involved after some lightning form in the Premier League with Brighton & Hove Albion.

Belgium possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Debast; Meunier, Tielemans, Witsel, Castagne; De Bruyne, Batshuayi, E Hazard

Click here to see how Canada could line up for this encounter

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