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Thursday, 8 June, 2000, 20:11 GMT 21:11 UK
Doubts persist for Waseige
Robert Waseige
Waseige knows his side need a good start to Euro 2000
Belgian coach Robert Waseige is still considering his options for his side's Euro 2000 opener against Sweden at Brussels' King Baudouin Stadium on Saturday.

Waseige's main doubts centre on two positions and one injury concern.

Midfielder Johan Walem, who plays for Italian club Parma, has an ankle injury, and Waseige has admitted that he may call up Danny Boffin if the injury does not clear up - under UEFA rules a player can still be called on to replace an injured colleague.

Waseige has also not decided who will partner Emile Mpenza up front - either Luc Nilis or Branko Strupar - or if Nico Van Kerckhoven deserves a chance at left back after a poor display by Philippe Leonard in the 2-2 friendly draw with Denmark.


Emile Mpenza
Who will partner Mpenza?
There is also a question mark over Leonard's availability, as his wife is expected to give birth in the coming days.

Waseige said he would unveil his team on Friday at midday but most positions are already clear in his mind. The chief question mark being over Mpenza's partner in attack.

Although many observers are expecting Derby County's Strupar to get the nod over Nilis, who will be joining Aston Villa next year, Waseige praised the former PSV Eindhoven star.

Psychological boost

"Nilis is very good on the pitch thanks to his technical attributes, but he's also very important in the squad," the coach said.

"He's come back with great enthusiasm and his presence is very important for his younger colleagues."

Nilis returned to the Belgian side in May after turning his back on international soccer after France 98 in disgust at the deteriorating atmosphere in the squad.

Waseige also stressed that victory over Sweden in the opening game of Euro 2000 would give a vital psychological boost to his squad.

"Every game is interesting to win, but of course it's a little bit more important to win the first game," Waseige said.

"That can have a crucial psychological effect on the players. Especially if you're playing at home."

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See also:

03 Jun 00 | Belgium
Wilmots spoils Schmeichel's party
05 Jun 00 | Belgium
Waseige still undecided
07 Jun 00 | Sweden
Sweden in 'no sex' shocker
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