Fifa World Cup - Russia 2018

Belgium captain Vincent Kompany a doubt for World Cup

The Manchester City captain left the pitch 10 minutes into the second half, after a challenge on Gelson Martins. Vincent Kompany will have a scan on Sunday after suffering a groin problem during Belgium’s goalless draw with Portugal in Brussels.

“He felt some discomfort in his groin, and obviously, we’re going to check it now,” said coach Roberto Martinez. Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo was absent as he was on a break after helping Real Madrid win the Champions League.

 

Vincent KompanyJan Vertonghen, making history as the first player to win 100 caps for Belgium, was closest to a goal, with a second-half shot that was tipped over by goalkeeper Beto. Belgium, who will be England’s final Group G opponents at the World Cup, scored a joint European record 43 goals in qualifying.

Yet Martinez has not been entirely free of headaches in the build-up to the finals, as he has faced public criticism from Radja Nainggolan after leaving the Roma midfielder out of a provisional 28-man squad.

Kompany’s fitness has been a long-term issue, with a series of injuries over the past five seasons, although the centre-back has been able to play without problems for his club since January.

The defender’s composure and experience are important to the success of the three-man central defence that Martinez intends to field in Russia, and his injury is a huge concern – especially as backup Thomas Vermaelen has been struggling with a hamstring problem.

Martinez will hope that Romelu Lukaku quickly gets back to his best after an ankle injury that affected the end of his club season at Manchester United.

Lukaku, only fit enough to play as a substitute in the FA Cup final defeat by Chelsea on 19 May, started in Brussels, but appeared to be still short of his best and was taken off after 45 minutes.

Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke, who came on for Lukaku, made little impact as Belgium’s best efforts came in the second half from Vertonghen and Thomas Meunier, whose cross-shot was pushed away by Beto.

With Ronaldo rested, European champions Portugal created few chances, although they looked solid. Full-back Raphael Guerreiro went close for them with one first-half shot that was pushed away well by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

If it was a forgettable match, there was at least reason to remember the night for Vertonghen, as he reached a century of international appearances. The Tottenham defender was presented with a special souvenir cap on the pitch by his mother before kick-off.

Source: BBC News

Back to top button