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Belgium v Bosnia-Herzegovina: Time running out for visitors

Bosnia-Herzegovina’s chances of automatic qualification for Euro 2016 hinge largely on their ability to get the better of Belgium in Group B on Thursday.

Wales currently lead the group on 14 points, with Belgium three points behind in second and fifth-placed Bosnia a further three adrift.

Bosnia-Herzegovina’s hopes of a top-two finish are by no means over but beating Belgium in Brussels will be no mean feat.

The Belgians have not lost a competitive fixture on home turf since 2010, although they look set to be without striker Christian Benteke, who is suffering with a thigh injury.

However, Everton frontman Romelu Lukaku says he will be ready to step in to Benteke’s shoes if called upon.

“Nothing has been said yet, but I am ready,” he said. “My goal has always been to impose myself as a starter in this team but, at the same time, I never question the decisions of the coach.”

Belgium head into Sunday’s fixture on the back of a disappointing 1-0 defeat in Wales.

“Everyone was disappointed with the defeat in Cardiff and the priority now is to bounce back,” Lukaku continued. “There is no longer room for error.

“We do not feel much pressure but we know that these matches are tremendously important.

“We can see that all the players are motivated. We have the qualities to show something different to what we did in Wales, where we missed the boat.

“We want to take this group and lay the foundations for qualification.”

With third-placed Israel at home to Andorra, this match is as important for Belgium as it is for Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Marc Wilmots’ men sit two points clear of Israel and will be keen to maintain – or stretch – that advantage over this week’s fixtures.

“Bosnia have a good team and they need the points but that can be an advantage for us,” added Lukaku. “They will not lock up the game and they will leave spaces.”

As well as Benteke’s possible absence, Belgium have lost Mousa Dembele to an ankle problem.

Marouane Fellaini should feature despite reportedly incurring a fine for missing his flight from England, while Kevin De Bruyne should be in good spirits after finally completing a big-money move to Manchester City.

Tue 1 Sep, 2015
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