With Belgium facing the USA on Tuesday in their last-16 tie at the World Cup in Brazil, manager Marc Wilmots has admitted that captain Vincent Kompany is a fitness concern.
Kompany missed Thursday’s Group H finale against South Korea after picking up a groin injury during training, and, although it was initially thought that the move was merely a precaution, Wilmots has now said that they will not know whether the Manchester City centre-back will be ready to go until the last minute.
‘It’s impossible to say this now,’ he stated. ‘That is why I’m happy to have an extra day of recovery.
'Now we wait for the reaction, the training and the development day by day, but you saw the last game too – he tried hard in the last training session and had to stop after half an hour.
‘It will be day by day and that is why I don’t think about the lineup now,’ he added. ‘We have to wait to see if he will be fit, certainly the day before the match, after the last training session. That is when we’ll have to decide.’
Playing in their first major international tournament since 2002, Belgium’s 'Golden Generation' were considered by many to be the dark horses of the World Cup but, despite topping their group with maximum points, they have largely flattered to deceive thus far.
With 61 caps since making his international debut in 2004, Kompany is among the first names on the teamsheet and the loss of his influential presence in the heart of defence would undoubtedly be a significant blow to their chances against a not-to-be underestimated US side.
Widely considered one of the top defenders in the game, Wilmots and the rest of the squad will certainly be sweating over the fitness of the 28-year-old during the next few days, as the Diables Rouges look to prove that the hype surrounding their young core of talent is indeed warranted.