Belgium are set to be without the services of Marouane Fellaini for the upcoming international break, with head coach Marc Wilmots confirming via Twitter that the towering Manchester United midfielder has withdrawn from his latest squad through injury.
Jordan Lukaku, 21, younger brother of fellow Red Devils international Romelu, has also been ruled out, so Everton's Kevin Mirallas and Sven Kums of Ghent are both called up as replacements for consecutive friendlies against Italy and Spain at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels.
Typically deployed as a late impact substitute by club manager Louis van Gaal due to his sheer size and aerial presence that can often unsettle tired defenders, Fellaini was handed only his third start of the season during the Capital One Cup fourth-round defeat to Championship promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough in October before featuring from the bench against Crystal Palace and in the Champions League tie against CSKA Moscow.
He missed the clash against West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford on 7 November, however, after picking up an injury in training 24 hours earlier. Although the nature of that problem and any potential recovery time frame has yet to be publicly disclosed, Van Gaal said before that 2-0 victory: "I had hoped he'd recover but it was not like that."
Fellaini featured prominently for Belgium throughout their straightforward Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, helping Wilmots's side amass 23 points from 10 matches and top Group B ahead of Wales. A routine 3-1 win against Israel in October even saw the 2014 World Cup quarter-finalists move to the summit of Fifa's world rankings for the very first time ahead of Germany and Argentina.
Earlier this week, the country's talented youngsters scooped third place at the U-17 World Cup as a brace and an injury-time winner from Dante Vanzeir secured a thrilling victory over Mexico in Vina del Mar, Chile. Belgium had been comfortably defeated by Mali in the semi-finals three days before, although Nigeria eventually emerged as tournament winners for the third time since 2007.