Euro 2020: Decoding Belgium's squad
The Belgium national football team has been announced for the upcoming European Championships in June. Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has named a strong 26-member squad for the Euro 2020. Notably, nine Premier League players have been named in the squad. The world's top-ranked side, have been drawn in Group B along with Russia, Denmark and Finland. Here we decode Belgium's squad.
Nine Premier League players named in the squad
Martinez has named nine Premier League players in the squad. The likes of Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Timothy Castagne (Leicester City), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Dennis Praet, Youri Tielemans (both Leicester City), Michy Batshuayi, Christian Benteke (both Crystal Palace), Leander Dendoncker (Wolves), and Leandro Trossard (Brighton) are the Premier League players who have made the cut.
Martinez names Witsel in squad, calls him a unique player
Borussia Dortmund mid-fielder Axel Witsel has been included in the squad. He had underwent an operation on his achilles tendon in January and resumed running just a few days ago, leaving his availability for the June 11-July 11 tournament in doubt. "With a squad extended to 26 (instead of 23), I can take this risk (on Witsel), he's a unique player," said Martinez.
A look at Belgium's 26-man squad
Goal-keepers: Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet, Mats Selz Defenders: Toby Alderweireld, Dedryck Boyata, Jason Denayer, Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen, Timothy Castagne, Thomas Meunier Mid-fielders: Nacer Chadli, Yannick Carrasco, Kevin De Bruyne, Leander Dendoncker, Thorgan Hazard, Dennis Praet (Leicester), Youri Tielemans, Hans Vanaken, Axel Witsel Forwards: Michy Batshuayi, Christian Benteke, Jeremy Doku, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens, Leandro Trossard
Belgium have several in-form players on offer
Belgium have a solid outfit and there are plenty of in-form players who can make the difference. Romelu Lukaku has been terrific for Serie A champions Inter Milan with his goals. The versatile De Bruyne has showed his prowess for Premier League winners Manchester City. Yannick Carrasco has also played a huge role in Atletico Madrid's title charge in La Liga.
Martinez has named 11 players in stand-by list
Stand-by list (11 players): Thomas Kaminski, Alexis Saelemaekers, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Bryan Heynek, Thomas Foket, Adnan Januzaj, Brandon Mechele, Jordan Lukaku, Zinho Vanheusden, Yari Verschaeren, Charles De Ketelaere
Notable results of Belgium
Belgium top Group E in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers 2022, going unbeaten in three games held in March 2021. Notably, they won all their games in the Euro 2020 Qualifiers in the 2019-20 season, claiming 30 points from 10 games. Earlier, Belgium were knocked out by Wales in the quarter-finals of the Euro 2016. At the 2018 World Cup, Belgium finished third.