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Romelu Lukaku set to miss Belgium’s first group games amid fitness battle

The striker has been battling injury for much of the season

Romelu Lukaku will miss Belgium’s opening two group games as he fights back from an injury sustained in August, according to reports.

The striker, on loan at Inter Milan following a disastrous spell with Chelsea, picked up a thigh injury in training in August, and though he managed 22 minutes on a return against Sampdoria in October, he aggravated it once more, and the 29-year-old has not played since.

Having played just 249 minutes in Serie A this season, the striker is lacking in match sharpness, but also appears to have lost his race for fitness for the World Cup.

Belgium kick their tournament off on Wednesday with a clash against Canada at Al Rayyan stadium, while they have also been drawn in a group with Morocco and Croatia in Group H.

However, as per Globo, they will have to face at least Belgium and Morocco without their all-time top goalscorer, with Lukaku still facing an anxious wait to see if he will be fit enough to play any part in their final clash against Croatia, which could be their final game in the tournament should things go badly.

Roberto Martinez has options, with Leandro Trossard having starred for Brighton as a striker, while Michy Batshuayi has led the line well previously and Lois Openda has scored seven Ligue 1 goals this season.

Belgium will be hoping that he can hit his stride immediately in the knockout rounds, should they get that far, and provide a timely boost for his country.

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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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