BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium have retained injured Vincent Kompany in their final World Cup squad but put fellow defender Laurent Ciman on standby in case the Manchester City skipper is not fit for their opening match in Russia.
Coach Roberto Martinez had been expected to cut his initial 28-man squad by five players on Monday but instead named 24, including Kompany.
Martinez said that World Cup rules allowed the final squad to be named 24 hours before they kick off their campaign. Belgium play Panama on June 18 before facing other Group G opponents Tunisia and England.
The 32-year-old Kompany came off during Belgium’s friendly against Portugal on Saturday with an injured groin.
The three-times Premier League winner has suffered from frequent injuries throughout his career and missed out on Euro 2016, although had been playing for his club since the start of this year.
Prior to the World Cup, Belgium play friendly warm-up matches against Egypt on Wednesday and Costa Rica next Monday.
The 24-man squad:
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Koen Casteels (VfL Wolfsburg).
Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Thomas Meunier (Paris Saint-Germain), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City).
Midfielders: Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Axel Witsel (Tianjin Quanjian), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Nacer Chadli (West Bromwich Albion), Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Youri Tielemans (Monaco), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham Hotspur).
Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea/Dortmund), Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Yifang), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United), Dries Mertens (Napoli).
Standby player: Laurent Ciman (Los Angeles FC).
Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by John O'Brien