Belgium News: Hazard concerns dismissed by Martinez

1 year ago

Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez has insisted there is nothing to worry about when it comes to Eden Hazard’s fitness after he limped out of Monday’s friendly win over Costa Rica.

The Red Devils completed their World Cup preparations with an emphatic 4-1 win over Los Ticos in Brussels, Romelu Lukaku helping himself to a brace while Dries Mertens and Michy Batshuayi were also on target.

However, the result was overshadowed by Chelsea playmaker Hazard being forced to leave the game 20 minutes from the end after some tough tackling by Costa Rica.

With Belgium’s opening game against Panama less than a week away, the sight of Hazard limping off will have been a cause for concern for most Belgian fans and Martinez was quick to dismiss their fears after the match.

“Eden is okay, he had a little trouble, but it’s nothing to worry about,” Martinez said in his post-match press conference.

“I really enjoyed his performance. He was sharp and strong, he was majestic.

“At the end he just came off because he had a little bit of a dead leg, a little bit of a knock on his leg.”

As one of the stars of the team, Hazard is expected to play a key role for Belgium in Russia and is 4/1 with William Hill to finish as the team’s top goalscorer.

Hazard will hope to feature in the opening game of Group G against Panama before subsequent matches against Tunisia and England.

The clash with England on June 28 is expected to be the group decider and Martinez has been full of praise for opposite number Gareth Southgate ahead of that meeting in Kaliningrad.

“Gareth is a thinker. He has a clear vision and he has players he knows really well from his time in the under-21s. He’s created a team that looks as if it will enjoy the World Cup,” said Martinez.