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World Cup 2018: The Belgium XI that won’t feature

Sachin Bhat
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
826   //    05 Jun 2018, 22:34 IST

Some big names missing Belgium's 23-man squad for the World Cup
Some big names missing Belgium's 23-man squad for the World Cup

The Belgium football team has witnessed a renaissance in the recent years. With a whole host of talents emerging to the fore, they’ve become the dark horses in the international competitions.

Although the performance at the World Cup 2014 and Euro 2016 was fair to middling, Les Diables Rouges remain an elite team packed to the rafters with stellar names.

And at the upcoming Russian showpiece too, Roberto Martinez’s men pose a tough prospect.

He recently chose the final 23-man squad that will be participating in the World Cup a few days from now. Bustling with Premier League stars, the squad features most of the usual suspects.

However, given the vast talent pool of the team, there are an impressive number of players who have been ostracized from the trip too. Let’s squeeze them into an XI here:


Goalkeeper: Matz Sels (Anderlecht)

Sels' move to Anderlecht didn't help him get on the plane to Russia
Sels' move to Anderlecht didn't help him get on the plane to Russia

As much as Belgium boasts an envious amount of attacking talents in the team, the goalkeeping is one department where the options run thin.

Thibaut Courtois and Simon Mignolet are the only two well-known Belgian shot-stoppers, and it isn’t surprising to see them flying to Russia.

However, the third choice was a dicey one for Martinez. Koen Casteels and Matz Sels are both uncapped, but the manager went with the former in the final squad.

Sels left Newcastle United last summer and signed for Anderlecht on a season-long loan. The 26-year old was instantly installed as the first choice and played in every league game of the season.

But, in 32 appearances, could muster only 9 clean sheets and conceded 34 goals as his side finished third in Belgian top-flight.

He was included in the preliminary squad though, but lost his place to Casteels, who too had a dreaded season with Wolfsburg in which as many as 49 goals were put past him!



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Sachin Bhat
ANALYST
Football aficionado. Writing enthusiast. Aspiring journalist.
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