Veteran Witsel and debutant De Cuyper named in Belgian squad for Euro 2024

Belgium coach Domenico Tedesco has included veteran Axel Witsel and newcomer Maxim De Cuyper in the Red Devils' squad for the European Championship in Germany.

Tedesco announced the 25-strong squad on Tuesday morning at the Belgian football association's base in Tubize, in Walloon Brabant.

Witsel played his 130th, and what was expected to be his final, international against Croatia in the World Cup in Qatar at the end of 2022, where Belgium were eliminated at the group stage. A few months later, the 35-year-old announced his retirement from international football. He later said he was "open" to returning.

Fitness concerns around defenders Jan Vertonghen and Arthur Theate mean there is a spot in the squad for Witsel, who currently plays as a central defender for Atlético Madrid.

De Cuyper, 23, a versatile defender with newly crowned Pro League champions Club Brugge, is the only new addition to the squad.

"I always said we were following De Cuyper. We have been watching him since my appointment," Tedesco said. "But we never had the chance to see him in action because of competition for his position. Now that situation has changed."

The Red Devils will convene in Tubize on Friday to begin their preparations. Before heading to Germany on 12 June, they will play two friendly matches at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, against Montenegro on 5 June and Luxembourg on 8 June.

Belgium start their European Championship campaign on 17 June in Frankfurt against Slovakia, followed by matches against Romania in Cologne on 22 June and Ukraine in Stuttgart on 26 June.

Belgium's head coach Domenico Tedesco © BELGA PHOTO BRUNO FAHY

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