Belgium pin their hopes on Hazard, Lukaku

Belgium pin their hopes on Hazard, Lukaku

With a star-studded squad that makes a mockery of the old joke 'who can name a famous Belgian?', young and talented Belgium should breeze past Algeria in the Group H opener on Tuesday.

Maligned as a non-entity in the past their nation may have been, but now the soccer team trips off everyone's tongues: Thibault Courtois in goal, Vincent Kompany marshalling the back, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku terrorizing defences.

Easy qualification, and a pool of thrilling young talent that is the envy of Europe, have made Belgium the bookmakers' pre-tournament fifth favourites behind heavyweights Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Germany.

Yet it is their first World Cup since 2002, meaning the team lack experience on the big stage. And they have some frailties, such as erratic finishing and a lack of flying full backs.

Algeria come into the tournament looking underrated - who knew they were the highest-ranked African team? - and are probably happy all the pre-match hype is on their rivals.

The first target for the "Desert Foxes" is to improve on their humiliation at the South Africa 2010 finals when they failed to score a goal and came bottom of their group.

Looking stronger than 2010, Algeria have constructed their side around French-born players drawn from the massive migrant population in Europe. Many of them switched allegiance after playing for France at junior level.

Hopes for goals rest on Islam Slimani, the 25-year-old attacker who was Algeria's footballer of the year in 2013 and became a folk hero among Sporting Lisbon fans after scoring the winner against Porto in March.

Teams: Belgium: 1-Thibaut Courtois (GK), 2-Toby Alderweireld, 3- Thomas Vermaelen, 4-Vincent Kompany, 5-Jan Vertonghen, 6-Axel Witsel, 7-Kevin de Bruyne, 8-Maroune Fellaini, 9-Romelu Lukaku, 10-Eden Hazard, 11-Kevin Mirallas, 12-Simon Mignolet (GK), 13-Sammy Bossut (GK), 14-Dries Mertens, 15-Daniel van Buyten, 16-Steven Defour, 17-Divock Origi, 18-Nicolas Lombaerts, 19-Moussa Dembele, 20-Adnan Januzaj, 21-Anthony vanden Borre, 22-Nacer Chadli, 23-Laurent Ciman.
Algeria: 1-Cedric Si Mohammed (GK), 2-Madjid Bouguerra, 3-Faouzi Ghoulam, 4-Esseid Belkalem, 5-Rafik Halliche, 6-Djamel Mesbah, 7-Hassan Yebda, 8-Medhi Lacen, 9-Nabil Ghilas, 10-Sofiane Feghouli, 11-Yacine Brahmi, 12-Carl Medjani, 13-Islam Slimani, 14-Nabi Bentaleb, 15-El Arabi Soudani, 16-Mohammed Zemmamouche (GK), 17-Liassine Cadamuro, 18-Abdelmoumene Djabou, 19-Saphir Taider, 20-Aissa Mandi, 21-Riyad Mahrez, 22-Mehdi Mostefa, 23-Rais Mbolhi (GK).