Saturday, January 21, 2017

Wilmots´ woes worsen as Belgium lose Lombaerts, Boyata

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 30 May 2016

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Belgium have lost centre-backs Nicolas Lombaerts and Dedryck Boyata from their Euro 2016 campaign, the pair joining captain Vincent Kompany on the sidelines in a mounting defensive injury crisis.

A hamstring issue has sidelined Zenit St Petersburg defender Lombaerts, while Celtic’s Boyata will not recover in time from the unspecified problem he picked up in training on Monday. 

Belgium were already without a first-choice defender in the form of national team skipper Vincent Kompany, the Manchester City captain having suffered a groin injury in the Champions League semi-final second leg away to Real Madrid earlier this month.

Head coach Marc Wilmots has called up Genk’s Christian Kabasele, uncapped at senior international level, as a replacement. 

“I’m not here to complain, I’m here to find solutions,” the coach said, having also lost Club Brugge centre-back Bjorn Engels to injury. 

Engels’ club colleague, right-back Thomas Meunier, is only expected to return to fitness shortly before the start of the tournament, while Thomas Vermaelen has barely featured for Barcelona in 2015-16.

There are also concerns for the Red Devils in midfield, with Tottenham’s Mousa Dembele out for a week due to a minor muscle tear.

Radja Nainggolan is nearing a return to action from the calf problem he suffered in Roma’s end-of-season friendly against Al Ahly on May 20.

“I really have to be careful with Radja, we cannot take any risks, but … I want to see him play Sunday against Norway,” Wilmots said.

Yannick Carrasco, who joined the training camp on Monday after Atletico Madrid’s Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid on Saturday, is not likely to feature in Belgium’s friendly against Finland on Wednesday.

Belgium begin their Group E campaign at the European Championship with a match against Italy in Lyon on June 13.

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