Romelu Lukaku is unlikely to start Belgium’s second World Cup fixture against Morocco despite making his return to team training, according to head coach Roberto Martinez.
Lukaku has only made five appearances for Inter during an injury-hit season, and he was absent as Belgium began their Group F campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Canada on Wednesday.
While Martinez hopes Belgium’s all-time leading goalscorer will return against Morocco at the Al Thumama Stadium on Sunday, the Nerazzurri striker may have to settle for a place on the bench.
“Today, he trained with the group, now we’ll see how his body will react,” the head coach said. “I don’t think he’s ready to go from the start against Morocco, but we’ll find that out over the next two days.
“But he seems to be doing well, and I’m happy to see him again at group training.”
Should Belgium beat Walid Regragui’s side next time out, they will become the first team in World Cup history to win nine consecutive group games at the tournament.
Belgium are also unbeaten in their four previous World Cup meetings with African teams (won three, drawn one), beating Tunisia 5-2 in their last such contest in 2018.
8 – Belgium have won each of their last 8 group matches in the World Cup, equalling the best such run in the competition made by Brazil (twice, from 1986-1994 and 2002-2010). Serious. #BELCAN pic.twitter.com/uoWZPczGP0
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) November 23, 2022