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Belgium’s Carrasco, Witsel and Courtois out of qualifier

September 7, 2021 GMT
Belgium's Axel Witsel, fights for the ball against Czech Republic's Alex Kral during the World Cup 2022 group E qualifying soccer match between Belgium and the Czech Republic at King Baudouin stadium in Brussels, Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
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Belgium's Axel Witsel, fights for the ball against Czech Republic's Alex Kral during the World Cup 2022 group E qualifying soccer match between Belgium and the Czech Republic at King Baudouin stadium in Brussels, Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
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Belgium's Axel Witsel, fights for the ball against Czech Republic's Alex Kral during the World Cup 2022 group E qualifying soccer match between Belgium and the Czech Republic at King Baudouin stadium in Brussels, Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgium players Yannick Carrasco, Axel Witsel and Thibaut Courtois have been released back to their clubs ahead of a World Cup qualifier against Belarus on Wednesday.

The trio did not travel with the squad to Kazan, Russia, where the game was switched due to sanctions against the Minsk government.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez will also have to deal with the absence of Romelu Lukaku, Jan Vertonghen and Thomas Meunier, who left the national team after they beat the Czech Republic 3-0 on Sunday.

Belgium leads Europe Group E by six points from the Czechs. Belarus trails by 10 points.

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