Football

Romelu Lukaku out of Belgium World Cup qualifiers

Belgium manager, Roberto Martinez, has said Romelu Lukaku’s transfer to Inter and Serie A was ‘the perfect move’ that helped make him ‘the best striker in the world.’

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said on Friday forward Romelu Lukaku will miss next week’s World Cup qualifiers with an ankle injury, with the Red Devils only two points away from clinching qualification for Qatar.

Chelsea striker Lukaku’s fitness issue adds to the absence of Besiktas’ Michy Batshuayi with Martinez calling up uncapped 23-year-old Union Sant-Gillioise attacker Dante Vanzeir.

Lukaku suffered the problem in last month’s Champions League win over Malmo and has been sidelined for three games.

Belgium host Estonia on November 13 before heading to Wales three days later in their final games of the campaign.

Martinez’s side top Group E, five points clear of the Czech Republic in second place and can claim a place in next year’s World Cup two draws.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg/GER), Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid/ESP), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge), Matz Sels (Strasbourg/FRA)

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Al-Duhail/QAT), Dedryck Boyata (Hertha Berlin/GER), Jason Denayer (Lyon/FRA), Leander Dendoncker (Wolves/ENG), Wout Faes (Reims/FRA), Arthur Theate (Bologna/ITA), Jan Vertonghen (Benfica/POR), Timothy Castagne (Leicester/ENG), Thomas Meunier (Borusssia Dortmund/GER)

Midfielders: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City/ENG), Dennis Praet (Torino/ITA), Albert Sambi Lokonga (Arsenal/ENG), Youri Tielemans (Leicester/ENG), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge), Axel Witsel (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Thorgan Hazard (Borusssia Dortmund/GER), Alexis Saelemaekers (AC Milan/ITA)

Forwards: Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace/ENG), Charles De Ketelaere (Club Brugge), Eden Hazard (Real Madrid/ESP), Dries Mertens (Napoli/ITA), Leandro Trossard (Brighton/ENG), Dicock Origi (Liverpool/ENG), Dante Vanzeir (Union St-Gilloise), Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid/ESP)

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