Lukaku loss limits Belgium as Canada loom

Belgium's ageing golden generation will begin their final shot at World Cup glory against Canada without talismanic forward Romelu Lukaku, who has been central to their success in recent years.

Wednesday's Group F game at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan (6am Thursday AEDT) is a tricky opener for Roberto Martinez's side against opponents appearing at a first global finals for 36 years who will be fired up to spring a surprise.

Lukaku, who is set to miss his side's first two games at least, is not the only player potentially out.

Right back Thomas Meunier trained on his own on Sunday as he works his way back from a broken cheekbone, but the powerful striker will be the biggest loss.

Martinez has admitted that without Lukaku his team, ranked No.2 in the world, have to alter their style and personnel.

Lukaku's replacement Michy Batshuayi failed to impress in a 2-1 friendly defeat by Egypt on Friday.

Not that the coach is hitting the panic button.

"This group has been together for six years, it is not that there is suddenly nothing left," Martinez said.

"That is why we should see this match (against Egypt) mainly as a wake-up call. It was also useful in giving some players much-needed minutes.

"Now it's just a matter of getting everyone ready. We can't expect to win at the World Cup if we aren't at our best."

Captain Eden Hazard has barely played at Real Madrid this season but is likely to be the main creative force along with the mercurial Kevin De Bruyne, who can unlock even the stingiest defence.

Defender Jan Vertonghen appears to have overcome injury and got 20 minutes against Egypt.

A big question for Martinez is how to use in-form forward Lois Openda, who made his international debut in June and has been an impressive addition to the squad.

Canada are relishing their return to the big stage, with their only previous World Cup appearance coming in Mexico in 1986, when they lost all three games without scoring a goal.

Midfielder Jonathan Osorio admitted the absence of Lukaku was a boost for his side, but said there are plenty of other threats in the Belgium team.

"We know that they have quality players and whoever they put on the field, it will be quality and they will try to make it difficult for us," he said.

"We want to show that we are a football nation and we can compete with the best in the world."