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World Cup

  • June 17, 2014
  • • 12:00 PM
  • • Estádio Governador Magalhães Pinto, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais
  • Referee: M. Rodríguez
  • • Attendance: 56800

World Cup Preview: Belgium - Algeria

Marc Wilmots has concerns over Kevin De Bruyne and Divock Origi but Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku is set to lead the line against the African nation on Tuesday

Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has been declared fully fit for his side’s World Cup opener against Algeria in Belo Horizonte on Monday.

The Chelsea forward, who spent last season on loan at Everton, injured his ankle in the Belgians’ 1-0 friendly win against Tunisia last week but resumed full training Wednesday and told the media on Sunday he was looking forward to participating in his nation’s first World Cup since 2002.

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Lukaku is set to start for Belgium after Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke was ruled out of the tournament with a serious injury in April.

The 21-year-old is in fine form after scoring against Sweden earlier this month and then netting a hat trick in Belgium’s 5-1 win against Luxembourg, although that match will not recognized by FIFA as coach Marc Wilmots made seven substitutions instead of the permitted six.

Wilmots, now 45, is the last Belgian player to have scored in a World Cup after netting against Russia in 2002.

Belgium later lost out to Brazil in the second round, with Wilmots (appearing in his fourth World Cup) seeing a strike controversially disallowed in that match against the eventual winners.

Back at the World Cup as coach, Wilmots has concerns about the fitness of Kevin De Bruyne and Divock Origi, although both are expected to shake off ankle problems in time for the game against Algeria at the Estadio Mineirao.

The north African side is participating in its fourth World Cup and will be aiming to make it out of the group stage for the very first time.

The side coached by Vahid Halilhodzic overcame Burkina Faso on away goals to qualify for this competition and warmed up for the showpiece in Brazil by beating Armenia 3-1 and Romania 2-1 recently.

Midfielder Hassan Yebda is doubtful for the Group H clash with an ankle injury.

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Reader's Predictions

Belgium BEL
Belgium Belgium
Algeria ALG
Algeria Algeria

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Belgium BEL
2 - 0
Algeria ALG
Belgium BEL
2 - 1
Algeria ALG
Belgium BEL
3 - 0
Algeria ALG