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Sels Secures EURO 2024 Call-Up with Belgium

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Nottingham Forest will have a representative at EURO 2024 after all.

Belgium head coach Domenico Tedesco has called up Matz Sels to his squad after the goalkeeper’s fine showings towards the end of the 2023/24 campaign with the Tricky Trees.

Tedesco has made the bold choice to leave out Thibaut Courtois, meaning that Sels is now the most experienced shot-stopper in his squad ahead of Luton Town’s Thomas Kaminski and Wolfsburg’s Koen Casteels.

Forest fans will at least have somebody to cheer on in Germany this summer…

Dark Horses

Once upon a time, Belgium would have been a popular EURO 2024 bet with their ‘golden generation’ of players.

But they failed to live up to expectations, aside from a run to the World Cup semi-finals in 2018, and are now filed away as dark horses, rather than favourites, for silverware – those England EURO 2024 odds of 3/1 giving added context now that Belgium are out to 16/1 to lift the trophy.

So it’s a faint hope of a Belgian run at the title – but all hope isn’t lost. Kevin de Bruyne has the talent to win any game of football, Leandro Trossard heads to the EUROs in confident mood after a fine season with Arsenal, while Romelu Lukaku has been scoring goals at the top level for the best part of a decade.

There are some holes in Tedesco’s squad, however, with the absence of Courtois – he missed a large chunk of the 2023/24 campaign with a torn ACL – one of the most prominent.

But Forest fans can at least put Belgian minds at ease – Sels has very much been a safe pair of hands after securing a £7 million move to the City Ground in January.

The 32-year-old was an ever-present over the final months of the season, producing a string of solid displays and even being nominated for the Premier League’s Save of the Season Award for his agile stop against Liverpool in March.

Whether Belgium go all the way at the EUROs remains to be seen, but in Sels they at least have a reliable option between the sticks.

Contentious Decision

There will be a strong English presence in Germany, of course, which extends to the referees and assistants that have been called up to the tournament.

Among them will be Anthony Taylor and Stuart Attwell, who courted controversy with the way they handled matters in Forest’s infamous 0-2 defeat at the hands of Everton in April.

Taylor, the matchday referee, made a handful of decisions that might be described as contentious, at best, including three moments in which Forest might have – and, on another day, surely would have – been given a penalty.

And Attwell, of course, is the Luton Town fan called up as VAR official for the Forest-Everton clash – despite the relegation peril that all three clubs found themselves in at the time.

The situation was so bizarre that Forest published a series of posts on their official social media channels condemning the standards of refereeing on the day – fortunately, in the grand scheme of things, no harm was done with the Tricky Trees staying up.

But Taylor and Attwell – as well as Sels – will be on our TV screens again this summer.

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