Belgium release 28-man preliminary squad for World Cup including shock omission

Belgium have released their 28-man preliminary squad for the 2018 World Cup.

Boss Roberto Martinez has left out midfielder Radja Nainggolan – travelling to Rome to tell the 30-year-old he would not be included.

Martinez said earlier this year on Nainggolan: “We have until May to analyse and make judgments on each player who helped us qualify, plus those who can help us in Russia.

“Nainggolan belongs to that [second] group of players. We’ll select 23 players and this will be based on the needs of the team.”

There is a clutch of Premier League representation, including Christian Benteke, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Marouane Fellaini.

Martinez has already penned a new two-year deal to remain on as Belgium boss as far as Euro 2020 after an impressive first qualifying campaign with the Red Devils.

Belgium will take on England in their final Group G game, preceded by ties against Panama and Tunisia.

They are bidding for a first ever final, with their best performance to date coming at Mexico ’86 when they finished fourth.

Belgium made the quarter-finals in the 2014 World Cup, crashing out to Argentina thanks to a Gonzalo Higuain strike.

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