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Which causes unrest among the Belgians before the match against Austria

Which causes unrest among the Belgians before the match against Austria

In the Belgium national football team, a major absence is causing a lot of talk ahead of Friday’s big European Championship qualifying clash (8:45pm / live on ServusTV) in Vienna against Austria.

Real Madrid goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, is absent due to a torn cruciate ligament. In his last appearance with the “Red Devils” so far, the 31-year-old left the camp early. Four months after this case, there is still no clarity regarding the conditions for the Belgian star’s return.

Courtois was upset that star striker Romelu Lukaku was given the captain’s strip in place of the injured Kevin De Bruyne in the first leg against Austria (1-1) in June – and not him. The goalkeeper then did not travel to the next match in Estonia (3-0), where he was scheduled to captain. Team boss Domenico Tedesco was left shocked, and the German-Italian denied the injury claimed by Courtois – much to Courtois’ anger.

“It would be strange if…”

The peace pipe has not been smoked yet. The dispute continues to spark discussions within the team. Fullback Timothy Castagne said in an interview with Le Soir newspaper at the weekend: “It would be strange if Thibaut returned as if nothing had happened.” The problem must be solved. “If he doesn’t want to come anymore, that’s his decision.” Castagne has since apologized for the timing of the interview and said he had also spoken to Courtois.

Lukaku also joined the discussion before his departure for Vienna. If Courtois returns, “I will be the first to welcome him with open arms,” Belgium’s all-time top scorer confirmed in a press conference on Wednesday. “I say it from the bottom of my heart: We have to put what happened behind us. Right now, the most important thing is a full recovery. If Courtois returns, he will be of “huge value” to the team, the substitute captain said. “He will speak for himself in the dressing room.”

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Bad obsession

But in Belgium, there are fears that the best goalkeeper in the world is so upset that he no longer wants to play for the Red Devils under Tedesco. The contract of the national coach, who was appointed after the World Cup embarrassment in Qatar in the winter, initially extends until the 2024 European Championship. The Belgian Federation appointed sporting director Frank Verkaterin as an intermediary – apparently without any noticeable results so far. Tedesco said this week that there had been no contact with Courtois since June.