World Cup briefing: Eden Hazard optimistic for Belgium’s ‘golden generation’
Ibrahimovic blames Swedish media for World Cup omission and Argentina’s Lanzini is ruled out through injury
Belgium skipper Eden Hazard says his country’s star-studded squad are ready to go for glory at the World Cup in Russia.
Hazard captains a squad that includes Chelsea teammate Thibaut Courtois, Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne, Tottenham defenders Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, and striker Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United.
Described by many pundits as Belgium’s “golden generation”, expectations are high for the Red Devils.
Roberto Martinez’s side are in group G with Tunisia, Panama and England - another nation that were once billed as having a golden generation.
Chelsea ace Hazard insists Belgium have the talent to claim the cup, and can handle the pressure. He told The Daily Telegraph: “We know what we are. We are good players, we all play in the big games in England, in Italy and in Spain, so we know what to do.
“The golden generation you had in England, ten years or 15 years ago, won nothing. Now I think the fans, journalists, all of Belgium, the country, just want to win something. We have a golden generation. We are in preparation but we will be ready for the World Cup.”
Zlatan: I should be at the World Cup
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has blamed the Swedish media for his exclusion from the Sweden squad for the World Cup.
The 36-year-old striker, who left Manchester United for LA Galaxy in March, told reporters that he should be in Russia.
He said: “The media says they are better without me... This is the Swedish media mentality. I don’t have a typical Swedish name. I’m not the typical Swedish attitude, behaviour and that, and still I have the record in the national team.
“I think it’s the biggest party in football, playing in the World Cup. All the best players are there. Zlatan is not there so… he should have been there. But he’s not there.”
Lanzini suffers knee injury
Argentina will be without midfielder Manuel Lanzini for the World Cup after rupturing an anterior knee ligament.
The BBC reports that the West Ham star injured his right knee in training. Argentina, whose goalkeeper Sergio Romero was also ruled out with a knee injury, have yet to name a replacement for Lanzini.