World Cup 2022: coach Roberto Martinez will reveal his selection this Thursday!

The coaches of the thirty-two participating teams must present a list of at least 23 and at most 26 players, which includes at least three goalkeepers. True to his usual core, the Catalan technician should not announce many surprises this November 10.

When it comes to goalkeepers, the question is whether Belgium will leave for the Gulf with three or four last bulwarks. At the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020, there were only three. Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet and Koen Casteels are assured of their places. Matz Salts is the 4th choice.

The axis of the defense with three will constitute, again, the biggest concern of the Devils. Since the retirements of Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen, Belgium has been struggling to find new elements capable of bringing solidity and speed alongside the two grognards who remain essential: Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld. Zeno Debast, Arthur Theate and Wout Faes point the tip of their noses while the more experienced Dedryck Boyata and Jason Denayer are less in sight. As for Brandon Mechele, who has just been included in the standard team for the group stage of the Champions League, he has, at 29, only three appearances for the national team.

On the wings, the four places seem to have been acquired by Thomas Meunier (who is recovering from a broken cheekbone) and Timothy Castagne, on the right, and by Yannick Carrasco and Thorgan Hazard, on the left. Nacer Chadli and Thomas Foket, injured, should not be called up.

In midfield, the routine Axel Witsel, Youri Tielemans, Leander Dendoncker and Hans Vanaken have nothing to fear. They should be accompanied by Amadou Onana. The surprise, perhaps the only one, would come from the presence of Roméo Lavia. The former Anderlecht talent revealed himself at the age of 18 at the start of the season in the Southampton jersey. A thigh injury, from which he has now recovered, prevented him from joining the Devils in recent Nations League fixtures. He could be the 33rd rookie player to be selected by Martinez. Dennis Praet and Albert Sambi Lokonga have no certainty.

The attacking sector will be led by Kevin De Bruyne, who is currently in great shape. Eden Hazard, the captain, continues to benefit from the confidence of Martinez, while he no longer has it with Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid. Leandro Trossard, brilliant with Brighton this season in the Premier League, could prove to be in the national team in Qatar. The AC Milan trio Charles De Ketelaere, Alexis Saelemaekers and Divock Origi, but also Dodi Lukebakio and Dries Mertens, are all candidates for the World Cup. The chances of Jérémy Doku, injured for more than a year and who is slowly coming back, and Adnan Januzaj seem less real.

The centre-forward position is normally reserved for Romelu Lukaku. But the top scorer of the Red Devils in history is injured in the hamstrings and will not be recovered for the first match against Canada. Martinez explained to the daily L’Equipe that he will only select the Inter Milan player “if he is fit to resume competition by December 1”, the date of the last match of the group stage, against Croatia. Michy Batshuayi should, as always, be the first alternative. With the departure of Christian Benteke in MLS, Loïs Openda, who shines in Lens, has a chance to appear in the group.

Roberto Martinez will be able to replace an injured player up to twenty-four hours before the Devils’ first match in Qatar (November 23 against Canada). Four years ago, Laurent Ciman was called up as a supernumerary player because Kompany and Vermaelen were returning from injury. Ciman finally left the Devils and returned to Belgium a few days before the first match against Panama.




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