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  • November 14, 2013
  • • 3:00 PM
  • • Stade Roi Baudouin, Bruxelles (Brussel)
  • Referee: M. Clattenburg
  • • Attendance: 45000

International Friendly Preview: Belgium - Colombia

International Friendly Preview: Belgium - Colombia

Lukaku - Croatia vs Belgium - 11102013 / Getty

After excellent qualifying campaigns, Thursday's meeting allows the two sides to lay down a marker as a genuine threat ahead of next summer's finals in Brazil.

Some of the most exciting attacking talent in world football will be on show when Belgium hosts Colombia in a friendly on Thursday night.

Belgium has not qualified for the World Cup since 2002, with the South Americans not featuring since France 98.

However, the two nations last month ended their wait for another appearance at the showpiece event and it promises to be an exciting encounter at the Stade Roi Baudouin.

An exciting Belgium side has risen from 40th to fifth in the world rankings over the course of its qualification campaign with Eden Hazard, Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku just a few of the dangerous attacking players in the ranks.

Marc Wilmots' side is unbeaten this year and finished nine points clear at the top of UEFA qualifying Group A, winning eight and drawing two of 10 matches.

Belgium will be without captain Vincent Kompany for the clash as he remains sidelined with a thigh injury.

Fellow defender Thomas Vermaelen missed training on Monday after complaining of a calf injury after playing for Arsenal in its defeat at Manchester United on Sunday.

Wilmots has recalled Cagliari midfielder Radja Nainggolan for the games against Colombia and then Japan next Tuesday.

Colombia qualified for Brazil 2014 by coming from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 with Chile in October.

Talisman Radamel Falcao scored twice in that dramatic comeback and Jose Pekerman's side will be fancied to make an impact next year.

Falcao has scored nine goals since joining Monaco in a big-money move from Atletico Madrid this summer and he is set to lead the line alongside highly-rated Porto frontman Jackson Martinez.

Colombia will also face the Netherlands in a friendly next Tuesday and midfielder Fredy Guarin knows the club faces two stern tests.

"Belgium and the Netherlands are major players that are in the best clubs in Europe," the Inter midfielder told the Colombia Football Federation's official website.

"Teams that are ranked in the first places, these games are very momentous because we can do a different job. You will not be doing anything easy, but it is very important for the future."

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