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Mpenzas hope to make World Cup a family affair

© Reuters 2002

BRUSSELS, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Belgium and Excelsior Mouscron striker Mbo Mpenza is hoping both he and his younger brother Emile will be picked to play in this summer's World Cup finals. "It would be really wonderful to play with him," Mbo told Reuters.

Mbo and Schalke 04 striker Emile, who played for Mouscron in the mid-1990s, appeared most recently together in last October's World Cup qualifying win over Croatia.

Mbo said the chance of making the Belgian squad had influenced his decision to return to first division Mouscron. "That's why I came back to Belgium, even if my first objective was to reintegrate in the club," he said. The 25-year-old, returned to Mouscron with a bang earlier this month, scoring twice against Eendracht Aalst after coming on as a substitute in a 6-1 thrashing.

"I can't complain. I hope I can continue to play well," Mbo, who has appeared to put his disastrous spell in Galatasaray behind him, said.

He was transferred to the Turkish club from Sporting Lisbon in August 2001 as part of a deal that saw Brazilian international striker Mario Jardel move to Portugal on a three-year contract in a deal worth 11 million euros. Asked how his parents felt about their two professional soccer-playing sons, Mbo said: "Of course they are proud and if their two boys could play together for Belgium in the World Cup, it would be even better."

Belgium clinched their place at the World Cup, for a record sixth consecutive time, by defeating the Czech Republic 2-0 on aggregate in the playoffs after finishing second behind Croatia in European qualifying group six. The Belgians will face hosts Japan, Russia and Tunisia in Group H.

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