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Belgium boss Roberto Martinez could make 10 changes for England

Belgium could make up to 10 changes for their World Cup match against England in order to preserve players for the last 16, says manager Roberto Martinez.

Both sides have qualified from Group G, with top spot still at stake.

Martinez has three players who are one booking away from a suspension, and injury concerns over forwards Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku.

The Spaniard said changing every outfield player for Thursday’s 19:00 BST kick-off “could be an option”.

He added: “If I was going to speak about every player, I think every one of them deserves to play in the World Cup.

“So it’s more important for me to be able to give that opportunity and see how they can react on the pitch and how much they can contribute.

“Nobody has got a place guaranteed in this team at the moment. That’s the way we are looking at it.”

Vincent Kompany is on schedule to make his return to the Belgium side, after missing their first two games with a groin injury picked up in a pre-tournament friendly against Portugal on 2 June.

The Manchester City captain and defender trained on Monday for the first time since Belgium arrived in Russia.

Manchester United striker Lukaku suffered an ankle injury during Saturday’s 5-2 win over Tunisia, in which he scored twice, while Chelsea forward Hazard, who also struck two goals in that game, suffered a calf problem.

Midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, centre-back Jan Vertonghen and right-back Thomas Meunier are the three players who are one yellow card away from missing Belgium’s last-16 match.

“What matters now is looking after our suspensions,” said Martinez.

“It would be very risky and a real gamble to play any of the players who are on a yellow card against England because you don’t want to have any player missing for the knockout stage.”

Victory over Tunisia secured qualification for Belgium, who had beaten Panama 3-0 in their opening game.

 

 

BBC

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