Belgium announces its European Championship list in 2020, including one injured player 4 months ago
Axel Witzel has joined Belgium’s squad for the European Football Championship (Euro 2020), which kicks off next month, after coach Roberto Martinez bet that the influential midfielder will be ready in time. Witzel, 32, underwent Achilles tendon surgery with his team, Borussia Dortmund, in January, and has not played since that time, but he has always been a prominent member of the Belgium squad, and has played 110 international matches, most recently against England in November. “Vetsel is recovering well, and is working hard to complete his fitness,” Martinez told reporters. The Spanish coach added that “the European Championship is divided into two tournaments, and if you want to succeed you must play with a different mentality in the knockout stage, and then Axel’s role will be more important.” There were no surprises in the squad that included Real Madrid player Eden Hazard; Despite suffering from injuries during the season, alongside Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne and FA Cup champion Uri Telemans with victorious Leicester City in a first match on Saturday. “We are happy with Eden Hazard’s improvement and we look forward to getting back to his best levels in the coming weeks. He is the leader and he will play an important role,” Martinez added. Belgium will start its preparations on May 31. Martinez said that De Bruyne – who is in the Champions League final – will join the squad on June 7. This means that he will miss two friendly matches against Greece and Croatia on 3 and 6 June in Brussels. Belgium – top of the FIFA rankings for the last 3 years – will compete with Denmark, Finland and Russia in Group Two, and begin their campaign against Russia in St. Petersburg on June 12. Belgium is the first of 24 countries participating in the European Championship 2020 to announce its final squad of 26 players. Martinez also picked 11 players on standby. The lineup was as follows: Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Simone Mignolet (Club Brugge), Matz Sales (Racing Strasbourg). Defenders: Toby Alderworld (Tottenham), Diederik Boyata (Hertha Berlin), Timothy Castani (Leicester City), Jason Denayer (Olympic Lyon), Thomas Monier (Borussia Dortmund), Thomas Vermalin (Vissel Kobe), Jan Vertonen (Benfica) Midfielders: Nasser Shazly (Istanbul, Basaksehir), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Leander Dendoncker (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Turgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund), Dennis Pratt, Yuri Telemans (Leicester City), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge), Axel Vitzel (Borussia Dortmund) Forwards: Michy Batshuayi, Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace), Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid), Jeremy Ducu (Rennes Stadium), Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan), Dries Mertens (Naples), Leandro Trussar (Brighton and Hove Albion). It is reported that the European Championship 2020 was scheduled to be held last year and was postponed due to the Corona pandemic.