Belgium defeated Portugal on Sunday, thanks to Thorgan Hazard’s stunner. Belgium have lived up to their tag as potential tournament favourites as Roberto Martinez’s side knocked out defending champions Portugal in the round of 16 of the UEFA EURO 2020 on Sunday. Belgium registered a 1-0 win to secure a spot in the last 8 of the tournament. Belgium will face Italy on Friday in the knockout stage. However, concerns remain over the fitness levels of Kevin De Bruyne & Eden Hazard.
De Bruyne suffered an injury in the Portugal victory, with the Manchester City midfielder lasting only three minutes of the second half before being unable to continue. De Bruyne had to leave the pitch shortly after the half-time break. The 30-year-old had been on the receiving end of a strong challenge from Joao Palhinha in first-half added time, for which Palhinha was booked.
The 30-year-old suffered an ankle injury and was replaced by Mertens in the 2nd half. Hazard limped off with a leg muscle problem. The Real Madrid forward appeared to be in some discomfort and immediately clutched his hamstring. He was replaced shortly after by Yannick Carrasco. Hazard was seen after the match with strapping on his right hamstring as he celebrated the win.
What has Belgium’s coach Roberto Martinez said
Kevin De Bruyne has ligament bruising and Eden Hazard suffered a hamstring twinge, Martinez told a news conference, putting their chances of playing at 50-50.
“The initial information that we have from medical staff is positive for both, they will remain with the squad and they have no structural damage,” said Martinez.
“But we are running up against time and it is very difficult to see them fully fit. So, we have to take it day-by-day to try and get them fit.”
“We were all a bit concerned before we got the news from the scans and it was a relief to all that we can now work on trying to get them fit again,” Martinez added.
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Both the players had scans and boss Roberto Martinez said they could still play a part against Italy in Munich.
“They didn’t take any major damage and stay with the team,” said Martinez.
“Our main concern at the moment is time, as the match against Italy is coming up quickly. Kevin and Eden probably won’t get 100% fit, but we will use every day to get them as fit as possible.”
“In the event that we go through, they will be ready for the semi-final anyway.”
Both Hazard and De Bruyne had recovered from injuries just before the European Championship to help Belgium through the group stage and brought more confidence into the squad.
De Bruyne had already missed Belgium’s first game at Euro 2020 against Russia while recovering from a facial injury sustained in the Champions League final. He featured from the bench against Denmark, before making consecutive starts against Finland and Portugal.
“I hurt myself, I felt something in the hamstring,” Hazard told reporters after being forced off in the 85th minute.
“I think I have something, we’ll see tomorrow. We will analyse the injury well, we will see the extent afterwards.”
“As captain, I will stay with the group because I have an important role to play.”
Belgium have lost one player, with second-choice goalkeeper Simon Mignolet suffering a knee injury and being replaced with the uncapped Thomas Kaminski.