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Hazard headlines Belgium squad for Euro 2016

SoccerNews in European Championships 12 May 2016

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Chelsea attacker Eden Hazard headlines Marc Wilmots’ 24-man Belgium squad for Euro 2016, with Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany missing out due to injury.

Hazard struggled to find his best form at Chelsea this campaign, but remains an undisputed starter for his country, with Wilmots naming the winger his captain in the absence of Kompany.

“Kompany’s absence is a blow for him, a blow for the team. He is our leader,” the Belgium coach commented on the defender’s injury.

“He must now focus on his recovery and his health, and make sure he returns as soon as possible at Manchester City. 

“We cannot mourn over his absence. We have to look forward.”

Despite the absence of Kompany, Wilmots still has a number of high-profile options in defence.

Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen could reprise their Tottenham partnership in the heart of Belgium’s defence after playing as full-backs for much of qualifying.

Anderlecht star Steven Defour is the most notable omission in midfield, with wonderkid Youri Tielemans also missing out.

Belgium can also count on the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku in attack, with Liverpool duo Christian Benteke and Divock Origi making the cut, too.

Nacer Chadli, Kevin Mirallas and Thorgan Hazard have to settle for a place on the standby list, while Adnan Januzaj misses out altogether.

Wilmots has included nine defenders in his squad, in an attempt to cover a host of minor injury issues, although one is set to drop out once the final 23 is decided.

Belgium meet Italy, Sweden and Republic of Ireland in Group E, starting their tournament against the Azzurri on June 13.

 

Squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Jean-Francois Gillet (Mechelen)

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), Nicolas Lombaerts (Zenit st Petersburg), Jason Denayer (Manchester City, on loan at Galatasaray), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic), Bjorn Engels (Club Brugge), Jordan Lukaku (Oostende), Thomas Meunier (Club Brugge), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona)

Midfielders: Axel Witsel (Zenit St Petersburg), Marouane Fellaini (Liverpool), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham), Radja Nainggolan (Roma)

Attackers: Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Romelu Lukaku (Everton), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Michy Batshuayi (Marseille), Christian Benteke, Divock Origi (Liverpool), Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco (Atletico Madrid)

Standby: Nacer Chadli (Tottenham), Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact), Laurens De Bock (Club Brugge), Guillaume Gillet (Nantes), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Monchengladbach), Kevin Mirallas (Everton), Matz Sels (Gent)

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