Belgium does not count on De Bruyne in its first match in the European Championship


BRUSSELS – Reuters
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said Monday that the national team is not counting on Kevin De Bruyne’s readiness for its first European Championship match against Russia in St Petersburg next Saturday.
The midfielder joined the rest of the squad on Monday at Belgium’s training base in Touber, but immediately underwent further medical tests after sustaining a broken nose and bone surrounding the socket of his left eye in the Champions League final.
He underwent minor surgery to treat the injury two days ago, but he was intending anyway to join the Belgium national team one week before the European Championship to rest after a long season.
“He will only join us in training, provided he gets the green light from the medical team,” Martinez said in a press conference. “But I don’t count on him in the first match.”
However, the coach expressed his happiness with the arrival of De Bruyne, and Martinez said: “He looks in good shape. He watched our match against Croatia and really entered the atmosphere of the competition. He will be prepared little by little, but his joining the squad will make a big difference.”
With De Bruyne’s participation in doubt, captain Eden Hazard returned on Sunday in a 1-0 victory over Croatia in his first international match in nearly 18 months, coming on as a substitute in the final eight minutes after a season plagued by club-wide injuries.
Martinez added: “I don’t care too much how many minutes Eden plays, but the most important thing is that he played. It’s a big step mentally and mentally. I’m happy with this comeback. He got back to the rhythm of the matches quickly. When will Eden be ready for a full match? That’s a difficult question to answer. The most important thing is that he’s medically ready.”


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