Belgium completed preparations for their penultimate World Cup warm-up friendly at the national centre in Tubize on Tuesday.
The Red Devils, considered by many to be in with a real chance of victory in Russia as they look to take advantage of a golden generation mostly in their respective primes, host a Mohamed Salah-less Egypt at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on Wednesday evening.
Roberto Martinez’s squad appeared to be in good spirits as they ran through another training session in advance of that fixture.
Belgium’s players took part in a training session at the national centre in Tubize on Tuesday
Tottenham duo Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld compete as Thomas Meunier looks on
Many of Belgium’s players appeared to train in their kit after posing for an official team photo
BELGIUM’S GROUP STAGE FIXTURES
June 18, 16:00 vs Panama, Fisht Olympic Stadium
June 23, 13:00 vs Tunisia, Otkrytie Arena
June 28, 19:00 vs England, Kaliningrad Stadium
Tottenham team-mates Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld competed against each other in one particular football drill, while Marouane Fellaini stuck close to Eden Hazard and Michy Batshuayi enjoyed a joke with Thomas Meunier.
The likes of Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens, Nacer Chadli, Adnan Januzaj, Axel Witsel and Dedryck Boyata were all pictured hard at work, with Belgium’s players appearing to train in their kit after posing for an official team picture that followed confirmation of Martinez’s final 23-man squad on Monday.
Arsenal icon Thierry Henry, appointed to assist Martinez in August 2016, also took part in the session.
Marouane Fellaini, right, jogs alongside former Manchester United teammate Adnan Januzaj
Fellaini drapes his arm over captain Eden Hazard, who will be vital to Belgium’s fortunes
Romelu Lukaku also took part in the final preparations for Wednesday’s clash with Egypt
PSG full-back Meunier holds out his hands as he stands in front of a smiling Michy Batshuayi
Napoli’s Dries Mertens and assistant coach Thierry Henry show off their silky skills in training
Missing from training along with ousted quartet Christian Benteke, Christian Kabasele, Matz Sels and Jordan Lukaku but present in the picture was injury-plagued Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany, who did make the final cut despite limping out in the second half of the goalless draw with European champions Portugal on Saturday due to a groin issue.
Martinez insisted that Belgium needed to wait a period of seven or eight days before making a diagnosis. The team can draft in a replacement up to 24 hours before their opening Group G clash against World Cup debutants Panama in Sochi on June 18.
‘He is a true leader,’ the coach said of Kompany. ‘He performed in a fantastic manner when he was on the pitch. His leadership is essential for us.
‘We want to give him every opportunity to be there. It is a World Cup, not a friendly international, so we take this exceptional decision. If Vincent is not fit on June 17, he will not be there, but we have to use that period.’
After facing Egypt, Belgium, who thumped Saudi Arabia 4-0 in March, are due to welcome Costa Rica to Brussels on June 11 before travelling to their World Cup base in Moscow.
That aforementioned opener against Panama is followed by fixtures against Tunisia and England.
BELGIUM’S FINAL 23-MAN SQUAD FOR RUSSIA 2018
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet, Koen Casteels.
Defenders: Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Thomas Vermaelen, Dedryck Boyata, Thomas Meunier, Vincent Kompany.
Midfielders: Yannick Carrasco, Nacer Chadli, Leander Dendoncker, Kevin De Bruyne, Mousa Dembele, Marouane Fellaini, Thorgan Hazard, Adnan Januzaj, Axel Witsel, Youri Tielemans.
Forwards: Michy Batshuayi, Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens, Romelu Lukaku.
Stand-By: Laurent Ciman.
Author: Nancy Parker
Nancy Parker is a five time Emmy Award winning journalist and seven time Emmy nominee who has spent almost twenty five years covering news in South Louisiana. She has anchored every prime time newscast at WVUE FOX8 during her twenty year tenure in New Orleans.