2018 FIFA World Cup: Big blow for the ‘dark horse’ Belgium. Find out why?

Injured Vincent Kompany doubtful ahead of World Cup

XtraTime Web Desk: Belgium star defender Vincent Kompany’s World Cup future in doubt as he picked a groin injury Saturday while Belgium drew 0-0 with Portugal.

The Manchester City defender walked off the field in the second half soon after he over-stretched in a challenge on Gelson Martins. Roberto Martínez, who is set to name his 23-man World Cup squad on Monday, said his player felt discomfort in a groin.

If Kompany is sidelined for the World Cup that begins on 14 June, it would be the second straight major tournament he has missed after sitting out the 2016 European Championship with a leg injury.

“With Vinnie, we will need to assess him on Sunday,” Martínez said. “He felt his groin slightly. Tomorrow he will have a scan and we will need to wait 48 hours. We need to let it settle down and then see. It is one of those blows nobody deserves. Since day one, he has worked at an incredible level. He has tried to drive the team forward and takes responsibility.

“It has been a joy and you wouldn’t want to break that. When he came off we were all very much worried, particularly because it is so close to naming the final squad. We need to remain neutral in our judgment. He told me he felt discomfort and he knows his body well. He knows when something is not right. We will name the squad on June 4.

“You don’t want to lose players like Vincent,” he later told the Belgian broadcaster VTM after the match in Brussels. “There’s the experience … there’s a little bit the knowhow, there’s the communication on the pitch. I think that understanding – knowing what’s expected in big games, and big moments, is important, so you don’t want to lose any of those players.”

The Manchester City captain’s career has been blighted by injury, but he appeared fit heading for Russia, where Belgium’s team is considered among the title favourites. They will play Panama, Tunisia, and England in Group G.

Kompany won his 77th cap against Portugal, having made his debut for the national team in 2004. “We feel a little bit disappointed for him because he’s been working so well in the camp,” Martínez added. “Already his influence in the group is always positive, he always wants to help and he’s been working extremely hard.”

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