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Belgium and City wait on Kompany

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Euro qualifying: Vulnerable favorites, dangerous sleepers

Could Eden Hazard and Belgium be in danger of missing the 2016 Euros?
Could Eden Hazard and Belgium be in danger of missing the 2016 Euros?

Aside from the World Cup, the European championship is the most competitive tournament in the world. The tournament features some of the globe's best players, and the upcoming 2016 competition in France will serve as an indicator of which teams are poised to excel at the 2018 World Cup.

The current crop of 53 eligible teams is split into nine groups, with the group winners, runners-up and the best third-placed team earning a tournament berth. The eight remaining third-placed teams face off in a playoff to determine the last four teams to join the host nation in the 24-team field. While this week marks the halfway point in the qualification process for most nations, there are some teams that already stand out for either playing above or below their expected standard.

Here is a look at three Euro 2016 contenders that are showing signs of vulnerability and could be in danger of not qualifying, along with three overachieving teams that could be dangerous sleepers to not only earn a berth to the tournament but make waves at the Euros.


Vulnerable favorites

Belgium | Qualifying record: 1-0-2 (win-loss-draw) | Group rank: 4th

Snapshot: Belgium, which is fourth in Group B, will battle Bosnia-Herzegovina, Wales and Israel for the top spots.

Belgium started strong with a 6-0 opening win over Andorra but subsequent draws against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Wales have raised questions about how the team uses its attacking resources. ...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Mousa Dembele hints at Tottenham exit, disappointed at lack of games

Nothing went right for Mousa Dembele and Spurs in Sunday's loss to West Brom.
Dembele has been unable to earn a regular starting role under Pochettino at White Hart Lane.

Mousa Dembele has hinted he could leave Tottenham this summer, saying that his lack of games at under Mauricio Pochettino has been "very disappointing."

Dembele, 27, has played 21 Premier League games for Spurs this season, but has only started nine of those and has completed just two full matches.

Pochettino's faith in young central midfield pairing Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb has seen Dembele struggle for chances, and the Belgium international says he will review his situation at the end of...

 By PA Sport

Romelu Lukaku, Steven Defour to miss Belgium qualifiers through injury

Romelu Lukaku will not play for Belgium in their upcoming qualifiers.

Everton striker Romelu Lukaku has been ruled out of Belgium's forthcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers through injury.

The 21-year-old limped off in Sunday's 2-1 win at QPR with a hamstring problem which manager Roberto Martinez hoped would prove just to be cramp.

However, the Belgian Football Association has announced Lukaku and Anderlecht midfielder Steven Defour will not feature against Cyprus on Saturday or Israel the following Tuesday.

Michy Batshuayi: Marseille forward has raw materials to be an attacking force

Michy Batshuayi has scored six goals in 17 Ligue 1 games this season.

Background information:

Michy Batshuayi opened the scoring with a razor-sharp turn and finish and added another just before half-time in Marseille's impressive 6-1 win away to Toulouse on Friday. After that two-goal salvo, the 21-year-old will be hopeful of retaining his place in Marcelo Bielsa's starting XI for the trip to league leaders Olympique Lyonnais this coming weekend.

Batshuayi's path to Ligue 1 has been far from smooth. He was born in Brussels to Congolese parents, and joined the Anderlecht...