World Cup - Belgium coach names Kompany, Hazard among core squad

Belgium coach Marc Wilmots has named five players, including Vincent Kompany and Eden Hazard, as certainties in his World Cup side.

Reuters
World Cup - Belgium coach names Kompany, Hazard among core squad
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Belgium's Vincent Kompany (Reuters)

Wilmots is expected to name a preliminary squad of 26 to 27 players on May 13 and whittle that down to a final 23 on June 2.

However, he said in an interview published in Het Laatste Nieuws newspaper on Wednesday that there were five players he would always pick assuming they were fit.

They were Manchester City and Belgium captain Vincent Kompany in central defence, creative Chelsea winger Eden Hazard, Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and midfielders Axel Witsel of Zenit St Petersburg and Kevin De Bruyne, Belgium's top scorer in qualifying who moved to VfL Wolfsburg from Chelsea in January.

Wilmots also defended midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who has had an underwhelming first season at Manchester United after joining from Premier League rivals Everton for 27.5 million pounds.

"I have no doubts about Marouane. I don't understand why Manchester United bought him to play him in a system of two number 6s. Marouane is a box-to-box player. The World Cup is a good chance for him to take revenge," he told the paper.

Belgium, playing in their first World Cup in 12 years, will face Algeria, Russia and South Korea in the group phase in Brazil.

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