Belgium play in Andorra tonight and against Israel in Brussels on Tuesday. Two points from those two games will see them qualify for the European Championships but what’s bubbling under the surface. Let’s have a look.
Ten things you may not know
1. Lukaku plays tonight but it’s not ‘Big Rom’ but smaller-sized Jordan – a surprise choice, some say.
2. Jordan Lukaku is Oostende’s first-ever international – since the merger of the two Oostende clubs in 1981.
3. Gent’s Laurent Depoitre – making his debut tonight – was playing third division football three seasons ago; since then he has won titles in the third, second and first divisions.
4. Marc Wilmots has decided that Marouane Fellaini does not offer enough creativity in midfield and Kevin De Bruyne is back – where he belongs – in the centre.
5. Exactly one year ago, Belgium played Andorra in Brussels; De Bruyne played central midfield and they won 6-0.
6. For the first time since 1934, Belgium will play with two full backs (the younger Lukaku and Thomas Meunier); neither of them are particularly strong defensively.
7. Three players in tonight’s team – J. Lukaku, Depoitre and Meunier – earn their living in the Jupiler Pro League (JPL) – that’s been a long time coming …
8. … and only five of tonight’s starting 11 play in the Premier League.
9. Discounting the games with Andorra and Cyprus, Belgium have scored five goals in their last five qualifying matches; none from Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku.
10. If Belgium win their next two games – Andorra and Israel – they will top the FIFA World Rankings.
Who said rankings never lie!
And here’s tonight’s team: Mignolet; Meunier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, J. Lukaku; Witsel, Nainggolan, De Bruyne; Mertens, Hazard & Depoitre.