Belgium sweat on Kompany's scan

BRUSSELS • Defender Vincent Kompany will require a scan to determine if he can play in the World Cup in Russia, after injuring his groin during Belgium's 0-0 draw with Portugal in a friendly on Saturday.

The 32-year-old Kompany, a key part of Belgium's defence, abruptly left the pitch in the 55th minute after appearing to hurt himself when lunging for the ball.

"You could feel that when he came off, we were all very much worried," coach Roberto Martinez told a news conference, adding that it would probably take 48 hours to determine how serious the injury was.

"He said he felt discomfort in his groin when he walked off the pitch. He's not a young player, he knows his body. At that point, it was the right time to come off."

The injury was the key talking point in the stalemate, as both sides showed attacking intent but no killer blow less than two weeks before the World Cup begins.

Belgium began with their strongest possible XI, apart from the injured Axel Witsel and Thomas Vermaelen, and a trial three-man defence.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos made six changes from the team that started last Monday's 2-2 draw with Tunisia and were again without Cristiano Ronaldo, still resting after the Champions League final.

Striker Andre Silva started on the bench, giving 21-year-old Goncalo Guedes the chance to shine in attack.

Santos expressed satisfaction after the match, saying his team had done well to keep a clean sheet against a team that set a joint record of goals (43) in qualifying.

"I cannot be fully satisfied because of Vincent Kompany's injury but, apart from that, it was the test we needed," said Martinez, adding that Vermaelen at least appeared to be returning to fitness.

Portugal host Algeria on Thursday before their World Cup opener on June 15 against Spain in a group also featuring Morocco and Iran.

Belgium will play further friendlies against Egypt on Wednesday and Costa Rica next Monday. They open their campaign on June 18 against Panama, before also facing England and Tunisia in Group G.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 04, 2018, with the headline 'Belgium sweat on Kompany's scan'. Print Edition | Subscribe