Lukaku in Belgium's World Cup squad despite left foot injury

Lukaku in Belgium’s World Cup squad despite left foot injury

Romelu Lukaku He was named in Belgium’s 26-man squad for the World Cup on Thursday, despite coach Roberto Martinez not expecting to call up the injured striker after the group stage.

Lukaku, Belgium’s record goalscorer with 68 goals, was “medically unfit” with a left foot injury two weeks ago, Martinez said.

Lukaku has made just five appearances for Inter Milan this season, before being ruled out for two months with a groin injury.

After announcing a squad that included Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard as mainstays, Martinez insisted he was not giving Lukaku “special treatment” because of his importance to the team.

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“The World Cup has two different stages,” Martinez said. “One is the group stage, and that’s the only stage we can prepare for – the three games we have.

“But then there is another World Cup, which is the knockout stage. And medically, we feel that Romelu Lukaku can make a second World Cup at this time.

Lukaku, who injured his thigh two games into his return from a groin problem, is undergoing treatment with Belgium’s medical staff and his fitness will be monitored until November 22. A day before the team’s opening game in Group F.

Rules state teams can place players on the team 24 hours before the first game.

Morocco and Croatia are also in the same group as Belgium, the world’s number two team.

“Romelo Lukaku is a very important player for the Red Devils,” Martinez said. “Now we’re working from a medical point of view to try to get him on the pitch and from there, give him a bigger role.”

Martinez pointed to Belgium’s past experience of fielding key players in the squad at major tournaments despite their injuries. In 2018, centre-back Vincent Kompany was injured before the first match of the World Cup in Russia, but returned for the last game of the group stage and made it to the semi-finals.

Center midfielder Axel Witsel was selected in the squad for Euro 2020 last year while he recovered from a serious Achilles tendon injury. He went on to make a faster-than-expected comeback and showed up in the group stage.

Due to Lukaku’s injury situation, Martinez opted to opt for a third center forward in Luis Openda, who has only made four appearances for Belgium. In Lukaku’s absence, Michy Batshuayi will start as Belgium’s striker.

Martinez said his toughest decision was to drop veteran center back Diedric Boyata, opting instead for Wot Foss and Zeno Debast.



Goalkeepers: Kevin Casteels (Wolfsburg), Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Simon Mignolet (Club Berg).

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Royal Antwerp), Zeno Debast (Anderlecht), Leander Dendoncker (Aston Villa), Vaut Faiss (Leicester), Arthur Thiet (Rennis), Jan Vertonghen (Benfica), Thomas Meunier (Borussia Dortmund), Timothée Castagne ( Borussia Dortmund) Leicester).

Midfielders: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Amadou Ona (Everton), Youri Telemans (Belgium), Hans Vanniken (Club Brugge), Axel Witsel (Atletico Madrid), Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia).

Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Fenerbahçe), Charles de Catellier (AC Milan), Jeremy Ducou (Renaissance), Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan), Dries Mertens (Galatasaray), Luis Openda (Lens), Leandro Troussard (Brighton).

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