De Bruyne out of the opening game
Manchester City superstar Kevin De Bruyne has been ruled out of Belgium’s Euro 2020 opener against Russia, after failing to recover from a facial injury.
— sky sports news (@1947followback) June 11, 2021
De Bruyne was forced to leave the field during Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat in the Champions League final, following a heavy collision with Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger.
Although Belgium boss Roberto Martinez revealed that the surgical procedure to rectify the issue lasted just 20 minutes, the injury remains serious enough to keep De Bruyne out of the reckoning for the Red Devils’ opening Euro 2020 fixture.
Roberto Martinez has revealed that Kevin De Bruyne underwent a minor medical intervention on his eye socket (one of 20 minutes). He ll join the squad on Monday. Probably he can play without a mask. “He will join the squad.” pic.twitter.com/9DTRtq6PQu
— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) June 5, 2021
Belgium still expected to progress
Drawn in a group alongside Russia, Finland and Denmark, Belgium will be expected to waltz through their opening fixtures, as they eye an improvement on their third-placed finish at the 2018 World Cup.
De Bruyne proved instrumental for Manchester City this season, providing six goals and twelve assists in his 25 Premier League appearances.
This form was enough to earn him the PFA Player of the Season award for the second consecutive year, with the midfielder aiming to carry such exploits into this summer’s tournament.
Best player in the Premier League for the second year in a row, as voted by his fellow players 🏆🏆
— B/R Football (@brfootball) June 6, 2021
How quickly he will recover to top form remains to be seen, but who could Belgium turn to in the meantime?
Well, Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Leander Dendoncker played in a midfield pair with Youri Tielemans in Belgium’s 1-0 win over Croatia four days ago, with Yannick Carrasco and Dries Mertens taking the attacking midfield spots.
With Eden and Thorgan Hazard on the bench, along with the highly-rated Jeremy Doku, Belgium still have a plethora of options to call upon in the attacking third.
None are quite of De Bruyne’s level, though, with Belgium hopeful that the midfielder will return ahead of the knockout stages.
This article was edited by Conor Laird.
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