Belgium coach Marc Wilmots has announced a 24 member provisional squad for World Cup 2014. The 12 Premier League players in the squad are expected to lead Belgium’s charge in Brazil and one among them is Manchester United starlet Adnan Januzaj.
According to FIFA norms, World Cup squad size is 23 and an additional 7 members can be named in the standby’s list. Goal keeper Koen Casteels availability is in doubt due to injury worries and that is the reason why Marc Wilmots has named an additional goalkeeper in the squad.
Marc Wilmots’ Belgium side is expected to pull some surprises in World Cup 2014 and is widely regarded as a dark horse in pre-tournament build ups. Goalkeeping department has the luxury of choosing between Atletico Madrid’s on-loan Chelsea custodian Thibaut Courtois and Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet. Both of them has been impressive this season for their clubs and have led their sides to their best ever finish in recent years. One of them is expected to protect the goal underlining their huge potential and current form.
There is an abundance of exceptionally talented central defenders in this Belgium squad. Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany is the stand out player, he will be joined by Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen, Arsenal skipper Thomas Vermaelan, Atletico Madrid’s Toby Alderweireld and Bayern Munich veteran Daniel Van Buyten. When there is a problem of plenty at the heart of defence, the lack of options at wing back is an area of concern. This youthful side has plenty of versatile players who can do the job on the flanks if required and that is going to ease the pressure on Marc Wilmots.
This batch is considered as exceptionally talented and skillful, and this youthful Belgium side can give sleep less nights to any team in World Cup 2014. Spearheading the Belgium midfield will be Chelsea winger Eden Hazard, he is expected to get the support from Everton’s in form winger Kevin Mirallas, Tottenham Duo Moussa Dembele and Nacer Chadli and Manchester United pair Mourane Fellaini and Adnan Januzaj. The inclusion of Adnan Januzaj along with Lille forward Divock Origi are considered as a bold statement and showcases Marc Wilmots trust on the upcoming talents.
Injury to Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke has reduced the options for Marc Wilmots in attack. Belgium attack will be spearheaded by Everton’s on loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku and he will be assisted by 19-year-old Lille striker Divock Origi in the absence of Benteke.
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea, Atletico Madrid), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Koen Casteels (Hoffeinheim), Silvio Proto (Anderlecht)
Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid), Anthony Vanden Borre (Anderlecht), Laurent Ciman (Standard Liege), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Daniel Van Buyten (Bayern Munich), Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal), Nicolas Lombaerts (Zenit St Petersburg), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)
Midfielders: Axel Witsel (Zenit St Petersburg), Steven Defour (Porto), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Moussa Dembélé (Tottenham Hotspur), Nacer Chadli (Tottenham Hotspur), Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Kevin Mirallas (Everton), Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United)
Attackers: Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea, Everton), Divock Origi (Lille).
Reserves: Sebastian Pocognoli (Hannover), Radja Nainggolan (Cagilari), Thorgan Hazard (Chelsea), Guillaume Gillet (Anderlecht), Michy Batshuayi (Standard Liege), Jelle Van Damme (Standard Liege)