Roberto Martinez, Belgium
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John Chapman’s Denmark v Belgium preview: Roberto Martinez has a selection headache

| 13.06.2021

Our Matchday Squad journalist will be covering Belgium throughout Euro 2020

Belgium will be Denmark’s first opponents since Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest. Spurs’ defender Toby Alderweireld, a friend of Eriksen’s since their Ajax days, feels Denmark might have a positive reaction after the incident, or the opposite.

Belgium and Denmark met twice last year, with Roberto Martinez’s men winning both games (Nations League, 6-2 on aggregate). All eyes will be on Romelu Lukaku, while more will be expected from Youri Tielemans.

Despite again missing senior players, Belgium will take the game to Denmark. Jan Vertonghen is doubtful with an ankle injury and would likely be replaced by Thomas Vermaelen. Remarkably, Axel Witsel could be in the squad, just five months after an operation on his achilles tendon. Kevin De Bruyne has remained in Belgium.

Eden Hazard had a lively cameo against Russia but won’t start the game and it’s a toss-up between Dries Mertens and teenager Jeremy Doku on the right side of attack.

Timothy Castagne is out of the tournament – he underwent surgery on a quadruple fracture of the cheekbone – and will be replaced by Thomas Meunier. So, Belgium will be a tad weaker in defence, stronger going forward.

Denmark will be fired-up, but I take Belgium to win 2-1.

Check out the latest Euro 2020 odds.



John Chapman

John has been on the Belgian beat since 1999 when the Manchester Evening News wanted someone ‘local’ to report on Manchester United’s tie-up with Royal Antwerp.

From there he joined the excellent team as their ‘Man in Belgium’. This put him in the front seats as the Belgium national team embarked on its long and epic journey to the top of the FIFA rankings.

Ahead of the 2014 World Cup, he worked for World Soccer, the Telegraph and When Saturday Comes, repeating the exercise in 2018. In-between, he covered the 2016 Euros in France, reporting on Belgium’s games for ESPN as well as providing content for FourFourTwo, World Soccer and others.

He has often spoken on BBC radio programmes, Sky, CNN and others, and provided information to Russian, Swedish, Finnish and American media. Interview highlights have been with a teenage Vincent Kompany, Sir Alex Ferguson on the United-Antwerp link-up and Phillipe Albert to discuss his best Belgian XI of all-time.