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Belgium-Australia Preview: Hazard and Lukaku rested for friendly clash

2 September 2014 19:30

Belgium will be without star duo Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku for Thursday's international friendly against Australia.

In their first match since bowing out to eventual finalists Argentina in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, Belgium travel to Liege minus the services of Chelsea playmaker Hazard and Everton striker Lukaku.

Despite being initially included in the 22-man squad, the Belgian Football Association have decided to rest the pair for the midweek clash at Stade Maurice Dufrasne.

The names Hazard and Lukaku will still be represented against Australia, however, with their younger brothers called up by coach Marc Wilmots.

Thorgan Hazard, who is on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach from Chelsea, and debutant KV Oostende defender Jordan Lukaku will feature in the squad.

Thomas Vermaelen, Marouane Fellaini and Vincent Kompany are also absent but Belgium are still strong with Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne, Adnan Januzaj, and No.1 goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois at Wilmots' disposal.

Jean-Francois Gillet has also been included after the shot-stopper returned from a 13-month ban for match-fixing.

"I wanted to see him again, the group wanted to see him again, it will make us happy," Wilmots said of the Torino keeper.

The match comes at the perfect time for Belgium - 11th in the Fifa Ranking - after their first Euro 2016 qualifier in Israel on August 9 was rescheduled to March 31 next year due to security concerns in the region, allowing the squad to come together before October's fixture against Andorra.

As for the 79th-ranked Australians, it is the first of two friendlies over the two-week international break as they prepare to host the AFC Asian Cup in January.

Coach Ange Postecoglou has included four uncapped players in his squad, with Trent Sainsbury, Brad Smith, Bailey Wright and Chris Herd selected for both the Belgium match and Saudi Arabia fixture in London four days later.

Bayer Leverkusen forward Robbie Kruse makes his comeback for the national team after he was cruelly ruled out of the World Cup with a knee injury.

Thursday's friendly will also mark a return to action for Australia, who gained plenty of admirers despite losing all three group games against Chile, Netherlands and Spain in Brazil.

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Info

2 - 0

Competition
Friendlies
Date
4 September 2014
Kick-off
20:45
Half-time
1 - 0
Full-time
2 - 0

Goals

D. Mertens 18'  
1 - 0
A. Witsel 77'  
2 - 0

Lineups

Substitutes

# Player Bookings
2
13
21
17
9
16
6
12

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Thursday 18 December

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