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Fellaini not included in Belgium Euros squad while Modric leads Croatia

Fellaini has not played for Belgium since the 2018 World Cup.

Marouane Fellaini has not been included in the selection.
Marouane Fellaini has not been included in the selection.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

BELGIUM COACH ROBERTO Martinez on Monday named a 26-strong squad for Euro 2020 including Axel Witsel but without Marouane Fellaini.

Witsel 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.

Fellaini, who has not played for Belgium since the 2018 World Cup after which he left for China, has not been summoned from international retirement.

The squad, which also includes a stand-by list of 11 players, must be officially declared to Uefa by 1 June at the latest.

Belgium, the world’s top-ranked side, have been drawn in Group B and will play Russia on June 12, Denmark five days later and Finland on 21 June.

Meanwhile, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic named a 26-man squad for Euro 2020 on Monday, comprising players who won silver at the 2018 World Cup and their younger peers and led by veteran Luka Modric.

“Our latest results were not the best, but I’m an optimist. Our first goal is to get out of the group,” Dalic told reporters.

Croatia have been drawn in Group D, and will play England in London on 13 June.

Dalic described that opening match as the toughest in the group stage as England “have good quality and we play at Wembley”.

Croatia then travel to Glasgow where they will face the Czech Republic on 18 June and Scotland four days later.

“We have difficult opponents, but I believe in us. We are at our best when the going gets tough,” Dalic said.

Captain Modric, 35, is among several players who took part in Croatia’s wonderful run at the World Cup in Russia in 2018 where they beat England in the semi-final before losing 4-2 to France in the final.

That group of experienced players includes defenders Domagoj Vida, Dejan Lovren and Sime Vrsaljko, midfielders Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic and Milan Badelj as well as attackers Ivan Perisic, Andrej Kramaric and Ante Rebic.

While expectations from the team at home are high, Dalic is cautious.

“The bar is set too high, our ambitions are not realistic,” he said in an interview with Sportske Novosti daily Monday.

“We are still among the 10 strongest [teams] in Europe, but there are many candidates for the throne who are ahead of us.”

Young players like midfielder Nikola Vlasic, forward Josip Brekalo and goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic bring a new energy, but they need time to reach their maximum, he said.

Dalic’s squad includes also uncapped 19-year-old Dinamo Zagreb defender Josko Gvardiol.

The squad includes a stand-by list of eight players. 

Belgium squad

Goalkeepers [3]: Thibaut Courtois [Real Madrid/ESP], Simon Mignolet [Club Brugge], Matz Sels [Strasbourg/FRA]

Defenders [7]: Toby Alderweireld [Tottenham/ENG], Dedryck Boyata [Hertha Berlin/GER], Jason Denayer [Lyon/FRA], Jan Vertonghen [Benfica/POR], Thomas Vermaelen [Vissel Kobe/JPN], Timothy Castagne [Leicester/ENG], Thomas Meunier [Borussia Dortmund/GER]

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Midfielders [9]: Yannick Carrasco [Atletico Madrid/ESP], Nacer Chadli [İstanbul Basaksehir/TUR], Leander Dendoncker [Wolves/ENG], Kevin De Bruyne [Manchester City/ENG], Thorgan Hazard [Borussia Dortmund/GER], Dennis Praet [Leicester/ENG], Youri Tielemans [Leicester/ENG], Hans Vanaken [Club Brugge], Axel Witsel [Borussia Dortmund/GER]

Forwards [7]: Michy Batshuayi [Crystal Palace/ENG], Christian Benteke [Crystal Palace/ENG], Jeremy Doku [Rennes/FRA], Eden Hazard [Real Madrid/ESP], Romelu Lukaku [Inter Milan/ITA], Dries Mertens [Napoli/ITA], Leandro Trossard [Brighton/ENG]

Stand-by list [11]: Thomas Kaminski [Blackburn/ENG], Alexis Saelemaekers [AC Milan/ITA], Albert Sambi Lokonga [Anderlecht], Bryan Heynen [Genk], Thomas Foket [Reims/FRA)] Adnan Januzaj [Real Sociedad/ESP], Brandon Mechele [Club Brugge], Jordan Lukaku [Antwerp], Zinho Vanheusden [Standard Liege], Yari Verschaeren [Anderlecht], Charles De Ketelaere [Club Brugge]

Croatia squad

Goalkeepers [3]: Lovre Kalinic [Hajduk Split], Dominik Livakovic [Dinamo Zagreb], Simon Sluga [Luton Town/ENG]

Defenders [9]: Domagoj Vida [Besiktas/TUR], Dejan Lovren [Zenit Saint Petersburg/RUS)], Sime Vrsaljko [Atletico Madrid/ESP] Borna Barisic [Rangers/SCO], Duje Caleta-Car [Marseille/FRA], Josip Juranovic [Legia Warsaw/POL] Domagoj Bradaric [Lille/FRA], Mile Skoric [Osijek], Josko Gvardiol [Dinamo Zagreb]

Midfielders [7]: Luka Modric [Real Madrid/ESP], Mateo Kovacic [Chelsea/ENG], Marcelo Brozovic [Inter Milan/ITA], Milan Badelj [Genoa/ITA], Mario Pasalic [Atalanta/ITA], Nikola Vlasic [CSKA Moscow/RUS] Luka Ivanusec [Dinamo Zagreb]

Forwards [7]: Ivan Perisic [Inter Milan/ITA], Andrej Kramaric [Hoffenheim/GER], Ante Rebic [Milan/ITA], Josip Brekalo [Wolfsburg/GER][ Bruno Petkovic (Dinamo Zagreb], Mislav Orsic [Dinamo Zagreb], Ante Budimir [Osasuna/ESP]

Stand-by list [8]: Filip Uremovic [Rubin Kazan/RUS], Marko Livaja [Hajduk Split], Toma Basic [Bordeaux/FRA], Marin Pongracic [Wolfsburg/GER], Kristijan Lovric [HNK Gorica], Lovro Majer [Dinamo Zagreb], Ivica Ivusic [Osijek], Nikola Moro [Dynamo Moscow/RUS]

© – AFP, 2021

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