June 1, 2018 / 8:19 AM / 3 months ago

Mattress gaffe may have revealed Belgium World Cup squad

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium’s final World Cup squad appears to have been inadvertently revealed during a television report over team preparations.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup - Belgium World Cup Squad Announcement - Belgium Football Centre, Tubize, Belgium - May 21, 2018 Belgium coach Roberto Martinez during the press conference REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Public broadcaster VRT showed footage of mattresses being loaded up by a Belgian bedding company before their departure for Russia with labels indicating the player for which they were designated.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has named a provisional squad of 28, which will be whittled down to 23 on Monday after a friendly international against Portugal on Saturday.

However, based on the mattresses, the cut has already been made, given there were only 23 on show.

The indication is that goalkeeper Matz Sels, defenders Christian Kabasele and Jordan Lukaku, midfielder Leander Dendoncker and winger Adnan Januzaj will not be flying to Russia.

Their absence would not be a great surprise, although it would confirm the inclusion of some of the more fringe players in the squad, such as defender Dedryck Boyata or forward Christian Benteke.

Belgium will also play friendlies against Egypt and Costa Rica before opening their World Cup campaign against Panama on June 18. Their group also includes England and Tunisia.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by John O'Brien

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