Belgium name star-studded World Cup squad
Belgium (Getty Images)
AFP - Vincent Kompany was included in Belgium coach Roberto Martinez's
23-man World Cup squad on Monday despite picking up a groin injury
during a friendly over the weekend.
The 32-year-old Manchester
City centre back, whose career has been blighted by injuries, walked off
the field early in the second half of Belgium's 0-0 draw with Portugal
on Saturday without waiting to be substituted after hurting his groin
when overstretching in a challenge.
Martinez said he wants to give
the influential Kompany as much time as possible to recover, adding
that it could be more than a week before the true extent of the injury
"Vinnie Kompany has been a leader, he has been
working extremely hard in the camp for the Red Devils," Martinez said.
"He performed in a fantastic manner while he was on the pitch against
Portugal so the fresh performance of Vinnie Kompany and his leadership
is essential for us."
Martinez named Los Angeles FC defender
Laurent Ciman as a reserve in case Kompany's injury proves too serious
for him to play in Russia.
"This is a World Cup, this is not just
an international game, this is not just any competition," Martinez said.
"This is the World Cup and due to the role of Vinnie Kompany now this
is the decision we have taken in order to get the best possible chance
to make the right decision."
According to FIFA rules, Martinez can
wait until June 17, the day before Belgium's opening Group G match
against Panama in Sochi, to finalize his team.
"If on the 17th of June Vinnie is not fit, he's not going to go to the World Cup," the coach said.
Belgium also plays Tunisia on June 23 and finishes group play against England on June 28.
a possibly unfit Kompany made the final cut, at least for now,
Christian Benteke did not, with Martinez opting for Romelu Lukaku and
Michy Batshuayi as the two main strikers in the squad.
been the toughest decision, from a football point of view." Martinez
said. "The decision is for the balance of the squad."
Martinez said he is expecting Adnan Januzaj to play an important attacking role.
"He brings a real talent in one-v-one situations and we need that," the coach said.
the creativity of Januzaj and Eden Hazard alongside the incisive
passing game of standout midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, Belgium will be a
powerful force going forward.
The injury to Kompany as well as
question marks about the match fitness of defender Thomas Vermaelen and
Toby Alderweireld, who both had injuries this season, means Belgium's
defense appears more of a worry for Martinez.
He sought to put a
positive spin on the injury concerns as his team prepares to head to
Russia as one of the pre-tournament favorites.
"We are going to be successful as a team," Martinez said, "if we can face adversity together."
Belgium 23-man World Cup squad:
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea/ENG), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool/ENG), Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg/GER)
Defenders: Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen (both Tottenham Hotspurs/ENG), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic/SCO), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City/ENG), Thomas Meunier (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona/ESP)
Midfielders: Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht), Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Yifang/CHN), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City/ENG), Nacer Chadli (West Bromwich Albion/ENG), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United/ENG), Eden Hazard (Chelsea/ENG), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Monchengladbach/GER), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad/ESP), Youri Tielemans (Monaco/FRA), Axel Witsel (Tianjin Quanjian/CHN)
Forwards: Dries Mertens (Napoli/ITA), Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea/ENG), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United/ENG)