Vandereycken snubs Buffel again

November 7, 2006

BRUSSELS, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Rangers midfielder Thomas Buffel was again overlooked by Belgium coach Rene Vandereycken today when he named a 20-man squad for his country's Euro 2008 Group A qualifier against Poland on November 15.

Belgium and Poland share third spot in the group on seven points after four outings. Serbia top the table on 10 points with Finland on eight points.

Buffel, capped 29 times, was a regular starter for his country until Belgium's scoreless draw at home to Kazakhstan in their opening qualifier in Brussels but has been omitted by Vandereycken for the last three qualifiers.

Anderlecht defender Mark De Man received his first call-up to the international fold in place of former team mate and influential SV Hamburg defender Vincent Kompany who was ruled out of action on Tuesday until March.

The injury-prone player, who has made just two appearances for his country in the last 14 months, needs an operation to correct his Achilles injury.

Vandereycken kept faith with Emile Mpenza but dropped his brother and fellow striker Mbo. Emile, who plays for Qatar's Al Rayyan, started Belgium's last two qualifiers following a 12-month absence.

Mbo, who came on as a substitute in Belgium's last two games, has struggled to gain a starting spot for Belgian champions Anderlecht this season.

Belgium got their qualifying campaign off to a poor start when they were held to a 0-0 home by Kazakhstan in August before bouncing back by beating Armenia in Yerevan.

They followed up with a defeat in Serbia before beating Azerbaijan at home last month. Group A also includes Portugal.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Stijn Stijnen (Club Bruges), Geert De Vlieger (Zulte Waregem), Brian Vandenbussche (Heerenveen)

Defenders: Mark De Man (Anderlecht), Carl Hoefkens (Stoke City), Daniel Van Buyten (Bayern Munich), Jelle Van Damme (Anderlecht), Anthony Vanden Borre (Anderlecht), Philippe Leonard (Feyenoord), Thomas Vermaelen (Ajax Amsterdam)

Midfielders: Gaetan Englebert (Club Bruges), Koen Daerden (Club Bruges), Karel Geraerts (Standard Liege), Bart Goor (Anderlecht), Timmy Simons (PSV Eindhoven), Gaby Mudingayi (Lazio)

Forwards: Stein Huysegems (Feyenoord), Luigi Pieroni (AJ Auxerre), Kevin Vandenbergh (Racing Genk), Emile Mpenza (Al Rayyan).