sport

De Bruyne, Hazard Doubtful For Italy Clash, Mignolet Out

Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard are struggling to be fit for Belgium’s quarter-final clash against Italy on Friday, with manager Roberto Martinez rating their chances of playing in Munich as ’50-50′.

Martinez is unhappy that Belgium’s last 16 opponents Portugal were allowed to get away with so many fouls after De Bruyne suffered an ankle injury on Sunday, while Hazard pulled up holding his hamstring.

Both players underwent scans on Monday and Martinez admitted that they are more likely to be fit for the semi-finals if Belgium can overcome the Italians.

“It’s early but I can communicate that the initial information we had from the medical department is quite positive for both. Eden and Kevin will remain with the squad, they have no structural damage,’ said Martinez who also revealed that reserve goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has left camp due to a knee injury.

“What we are running against is time. The game is on Friday and that will probably be too close. It’s difficult to see them fully fit.

“If we were playing today they wouldn’t be fit to play, but we’re going to use every day as an opportunity to get them fit.

“The information says that if the game will be in the next phase they will be fit to play, so they are going to be involved in the camp and work with us and we’ll see how every day progresses.

“With Kevin, it was a tackle where his ankle gets opened and the ligament suffered due to that, but it’s not a major structural problem. With Eden, it was a sensation in his hamstring.”

De Bruyne was hurt in a tackle from behind by Joao Palhinha who should arguably have been booked earlier by German referee Felix Brych for pulling Romelu Lukaku’s shirt.

“It was a disappointment for me that Portugal were allowed to really stop counter-attacks with a lot of fouls so many times. Kevin’s injury comes from a situation where Palhinha shouldn’t have been allowed to do that and should already be booked. The yellow card could have been a red card.

“It was quite early in the game when he pulled the shirt of Lukaku. If it’s a yellow, it changes the tone of the game.

But Felix Brych is a very experienced referee, and I knew it was a very difficult game.’

Former Liverpool goalkeeper Mignolet has been sent back to Club Brugge with a knee problem and is likely to be replaced by Blackburn’s Thomas Kaminski.

“We had bad news on Simon Mignolet that he is going to be released from camp,” said Martinez. “He had a knee problem yesterday and he needs further treatment.”

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