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SPORTS UPDATE

No drastic changes for Belgium after heavy Dutch defeat

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez will not implement drastic changes to his side for Wednesday’s Nations League game against Poland, even after his side were handed a 4-1 thumping by the Netherlands last Friday.

It was the first home defeat in almost six years for the Belgians, ranked second by Fifa and one of the fancied teams for the World Cup later this year.

“There will be some small changes but I don’t want people to think these are changes because of the results,” Martinez told a news conference on the eve of the League A Group Four match against Poland in Brussels.

“This is not the case, the changes were planned in advance based on how players finished their club season and how many minutes they played. The changes will not be because of a consequence of what happened against Holland.”

Being easily beaten by their neighbours had been a sobering experience for the Belgians and Martinez gave the squad two days off after the loss to digest the defeat before returning to training on Monday.

“Everyone has been hurting over the last few days, the result is not what we wanted. We are truly disappointed, as disappointed as the fans. We have to improve straight away, not for the World Cup but for Poland,” he said.

Martinez confirmed that lead striker Romelu Lukaku sits out their next two games – against Poland and Wales away in Cardiff on Saturday – because of an ankle injury and would likely also miss the return game against Poland in Warsaw on 14 June.

“Medically he is still a doubt. We had mixed feelings when he came back from the hospital because the scan showed the injury wasn’t as bad as we had expected,” he added. “But clearly he’s going to be out for the next two games but because we have another game in Poland we want to carry on working with him.”

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