Belgium coach calls up midfielder Mandela Keita for Euro 2024 qualifiers against Austria and Sweden

BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgium coach Domenico Tedesco called up midfielder Mandela Keita for the first time on Friday for upcoming European Championship qualifying matches against Austria and Sweden.

Keita is one of 24 players summoned to prepare for the matches. The team will again be without Kevin De Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois, who are injured.

Keita, who plays for Belgian champion Royal Antwerp, is the only new name in Tedesco’s selection.

Tedesco said the 21-year-old Keita will help beef up the midfield against two teams developing a physical game.

“That’s why we need a lot of power, of physicality in the center, and that’s why we decided for Mandela,” he said.

Belgium, which leads Group F alongside Austria, needs one more win to qualify for next year’s Euro 2024 tournament in Germany. The team travels to Austria on Oct. 13 and hosts Sweden three days later.


Goalkeepers: Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg), Matz Sels (Strasbourg), Arnaud Bodart (Standard Liege), Thomas Kaminski (Luton)

Defenders: Ameen Al-Dakhil (Burnley), Timothy Castagne (Fulham), Zeno Debast (Anderlecht), Wout Faes (Leicester), Arthur Theate (Rennes), Jan Vertonghen (Anderlecht)

Midfielders: Orel Mangala (Nottingham Forest), Yannick Carrasco (Al Shabab), Amadou Onana (Everton), Youri Tielemans (Aston Villa), Mandela Keita (Royal Antwerp)

Forwards: Johan Bakayoko (PSV Eindhoven), Michy Batshuayi (Fenerbahce), Charles De Ketelaere (Atalanta), Olivier Deman (Werder Bremen), Jeremy Doku (Manchester City), Romelu Lukaku (AS Roma), Dodi Lukebakio (Sevilla), Lois Openda (Leipzig), Leandro Trossard (Arsenal)


AP soccer:

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