Squad to face Ivory Coast underlines stability in Belgium’s World Cup selection

By | February 27, 2014

Marc Wilmots is likely to remain loyal to the players who got him to Brazil (Copyright - John Chapman)

Marc Wilmots is likely to remain loyal to the players who got him to Brazil (Copyright – John Chapman)

Marc Wilmots has announced the Belgian squad to meet the Ivory Coast next week and there are no shocks. In keeping with previous squads, Wilmots is sticking with his trusted players regardless of whether they play regularly with their clubs. Of the 23-man squad, only one position is genuinely up for grabs – reserve right back behind Toby Alderweireld.

That’s why the most interesting choice today is the inclusion of Anthony Vanden Borre instead of his club captain at Anderlecht, Guillaume Gillet. Gillet has been a stand-in full back for club and country but Vanden Borre has now replaced him for both. Gillet is back in midfield for Anderlecht but out of the Belgium squad. The main alternative to Vanden Borre is Club Brugge’s converted striker Thomas Meunier and he may get a run in a future friendly.

Anthony Vanden Borre - back in the squad  (image: Wikipedia).

Anthony Vanden Borre – back in the squad (image: Wikipedia).

Radja Nainggolan’s inclusion is no surprise following his move to Roma and several strong performances in the Italian league and cup competitions. The question now is whether Nainggolan will retain a place in the squad when Steven Defour regains fitness. There is a slight question mark hanging over Timmy Simons. Many pundits and fans think Simons should move up to the technical staff of the national team as he reaches veteran status. Personally I feel Wilmots will keep Simons in the squad for Brazil.

This means that the squad announced today is more or less the one that will go to Brazil, with Thomas Vermaelen and Steven Defour coming back for Standard Liege’s Laurent Ciman and Nainggolan. That will be tough on both players but Wilmots will place loyalty above form and he’ll feel he will have enough time at the season’s end ahead of Brazil in order to get them fit and raring to go.

Club Brugge's Timmy Simons - a debate rages over whether he should be in the squad for Brazil ( Copyright John Chapman)

Club Brugge’s Timmy Simons – a debate reages over whether he shouldbe in the squad for Brazil ( Copyright John Chapman)

So Thorgan Hazard, Michy Batshuayi and Maxime Lestienne will have to wait until the 2016 European Championships to make their mark. As for Jelle Vossen, it looks like he will be out of the picture until he moves to a club in a bigger league.

The squad vs Ivory Coast

Keepers: Courtois, Mignolet, Casteels
Defenders: Kompany, Vertonghen, Lombaerts, Alderweireld, Pocognoli, Ciman, Vanden Borre, Van Buyten
Midfield: Witsel, Dembélé, Chadli, Fellaini, Simons, Nainggolan
Wide: E. Hazard, Mirallas, De Bruyne, Mertens
Strikers: Benteke, Lukaku

One thought on “Squad to face Ivory Coast underlines stability in Belgium’s World Cup selection

  1. Belgian Kompany

    Nicely put. I’ve been waiting for the right back picture to come into focus. Time satisfies all curiosities… Cavanda may get his chance one day.
    Also glad to see Radja make the squad. I’d like to see him get some minutes against Cote D’Ivoire to see how he plays with the squad and if he really warrants a spot over Simons for the WC.

    Reply

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