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Injured Lukaku named in Belgium squad for World Cup

By AFP
10 November 2022   |   3:12 pm
Romelu Lukaku was selected in the Belgium squad for the World Cup announced on Thursday despite coach Roberto Martinez admitting the Inter Milan striker was "medically unfit".

Belgium’s forward Romelu Lukaku jogs during their MD-1 training session at Petrovskly Stadium in St Petersburg on June 11, 2021, on the eve of their UEFA EURO 2020 match against Russia. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

Romelu Lukaku was selected in the Belgium squad for the World Cup announced on Thursday despite coach Roberto Martinez admitting the Inter Milan striker was “medically unfit”.

Lukaku has played just twice for Inter since the end of August because of a hamstring injury. He returned briefly in October but suffered a recurrence of the problem.

“Romelu is medically unfit, I think that’s quite clear,” Martinez said as he revealed his 26-man squad for Qatar.

“Romelu is at the moment receiving treatment and is entering that period that until the 22nd of November — 24 hours before our first game– he has the opportunity to get himself fully fit.”

FIFA will allow teams to replace players unable to compete because of injury or Covid-19 up to 24 hours before their first match at the World Cup.

Belgium, who finished third at the last tournament in Russia, start their campaign against Canada on November 23.

They will also face Morocco and 2018 runners-up Croatia in Group F.

Full squad:

Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid/ESP), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge), Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg/GER)

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Royal Antwerp), Jan Vertonghen (Anderlecht), Zeno Debast (Anderlecht), Leander Dendoncker (Aston Villa/ENG), Wout Faes (Leicester City/ENG), Arthur Theate (Rennes/FRA)

Midfielders: Thomas Meunier (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Timothy Castagne (Leicester City/ENG), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Axel Witsel (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Youri Tielemans (Leicester City/ENG), Amadou Onana (Everton/ENG), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge), Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid/ESP)

Forwards: Eden Hazard (Real Madrid/ESP), Leandro Trossard (Brighton/ENG), Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan/ITA), Michy Batshuayi (Fenerbahce/TUR), Charles De Ketelaere (AC Milan/ITA), Lois Openda (Lens/FRA), Jeremy Doku (Rennes/FRA), Dries Mertens (Galatasaray/TUR).