Belgium boss Roberto Martinez reveals Romelu Lukaku will miss World Cup opener
Photo by Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Belgium boss Roberto Martinez has revealed that Romelu Lukaku will miss his side’s opener with Canada on Wednesday.

The Red Devils’ record goalscorer has been struggling with a thigh problem and has made just five appearances this season for his club Inter Milan.

The European nation will want to get off to a fast start in a tough looking Group F, which also includes Morocco and Croatia.

Meanwhile, Canada boss John Herdman has given a boost to the North American side as he declared Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies fit for the encounter.

Much of Herdman's press conferences in the build-up to the tournament have been focussed around the star man.

It will be the countries second appearance at a World Cup after first featuring back in 1986.

No timeline for Lukaku return

The 49-year-old did admit that Lukaku was progressing well in training but he is unsure when the former Chelsea striker will be ready.

The physical centre-forward has notched an impressive 68 goals for his country and Michy Batshuayi is likely to be the man to step up in his place.

“We’re very happy the way that he is progressing. He had a very good session yesterday, not with a group, but is progressing in a steady way. We haven’t got a timeline.

“I wouldn’t be able to tell if he’s going to be the second game or the third game. If I follow the medical advice, at this point it would be the third game.

“If I follow how the player feels, probably we’ve got a chance for the second game.”

Davies will be ready for the Canadians

The 22-year-old is one of the stars of world football and news that he will be available is positive for fans all around the globe.

It looked like the marauding left-sided player was a major doubt for the game but Herdman has revealed he has now proved his fitness.

“You’ve just got to go through the algorithms they put in front of you to progress to hit top speed, which he’s hit.

“He’s been clear he wanted to play. He’s been in full training and got that big smile on his face, so that’s great.

“I don’t think there’d be any doubt we’d be starting him, but you’ve got to follow the medical advice.

“Our goal first and foremost is always the safety of the players.

“At the end of the day, he’s fit now, he’s hit his markers, he’s ready to go. He was flying in training yesterday.”

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Martinez gives Hazard backing

The Belgian captain has struggled to hit the heights that were expected of him when he made a big money move to Real Madrid in 2019.

Injury problems and the pressure of being at the Spanish giants have taken their toll on the talented 31-year-old, but he’ll be hoping the issues will be a thing of the past.

Martinez knows just how important Hazard is to Belgium’s chances of having a long run in Qatar.

“It’s been a tough situation in terms of the playing minutes.

“We are a better team when Eden Hazard is in our dressing room, that’s for sure.”

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