There is growing optimism that Inter striker Romelu Lukaku could be available for the Belgian national team’s group stage match against Croatia at the World Cup.

This according to today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, via FCInterNews, who report that the final decision about the 29-year-old’s fitness and participation in the World Cup will be made shortly before the group stage begins.

Lukaku’s most recent MRI was positive, and suggested that the Belgian is well on track to recover from the thigh injury which has kept him out for a number of matches with Inter.

There are still no guarantees, and he will be assessed again shortly before the Red Devils play their group stage opener against Canada.

FIFA rules allow a player to drop out of the squad on the eve of their first group stage match, and if the tests in Qatar determine that Lukaku still cannot be risked as early as the round of sixteen he will drop out of the squad for standby option Dodi Lukebakio.

However, right now there is optimism that the Nerazzurri can be back as early as the third group stage match, against Croatia.