BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) — Belgium went into its Group H opener against Algeria with Daniel Van Buyten, the only veteran from its last World Cup campaign, at the heart of the defense alongside captain Vincent Kompany.
In another surprise decision for Belgium's first World Cup game in 12 years, coach Marc Wilmots also fielded Nacer Chadli in midfield and left out Marouane Fellaini.
Wilmots says "I have four attackers who can go box-to-box."
Forward El Arabi Soudani will lead Algeria's attack, playing instead of Islam Slimani, who many believe is the country's star striker. Soudani will need to link up with playmaker Sofiane Feghouli, Algeria's main creative force.
Belgium: Thibaut Courtois, Toby Alderweireld, Vincent Kompany (captain), Daniel Van Buyten, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne, Moussa Dembele, Nacer Chadli, Axel Witsel, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku.
Algeria: Rais Mbolhi, Madjid Bougherra (captain), Faouzi Ghoulam, Rafik Halliche, Sofiane Feghouli, Carl Medjani, Nabil Bentale, El Arabi Soudani, Saphir Taider, Riyad Mahrez, Mehdi Mostefa.