Kevin De Bruyne is in line to start Belgium’s Euro 2020 quarter-final tie against Italy on Friday night, while teammate Eden Hazard’s inclusion will be a ‘last-minute’ decision.
The pair were both forced off through injury in the Red Devils’ round of 16 victory over Portugal. De Bruyne was taken off three minutes into the second half with what has now been confirmed as ankle ligament bruising following a challenge from Joao Palhinha, while Hazard came off three minutes before full-time with a pulled hamstring.
Talking about the fitness of two of his key players in a press conference, Belgium boss Roberto Martinez said, as quoted by Sky Sports : “We all know we are fighting against time. We are going to wait until the last minute to make that decision.
“We’ll see tomorrow if they can be involved or not,” the Spaniard said. “Unfortunately, at the moment we cannot make a decision.”
However, it has since been revealed by Sky Sports Italy’s Angelo Mangainte via Twitter that De Bruyne will be able to face Italy and is in line to start the match.
The Manchester City star’s presence in the side is a huge boost to Martinez. After missing their opening fixture due to a facial injury he sustained in the Champions League final, De Bruyne returned to score and assist in the Red Devils’ 2-1 comeback win against Denmark, before teeing up Romelu Lukaku in Belgium’s 2-0 victory over Finland.
Meanwhile, Martinez will be hoping that Hazard’s last-minute fitness test will yield a positive result. The Real Madrid winger endured an injury-hit domestic campaign, making just 14 La Liga appearances although has come into this summer’s European Championship showing better form, playing in all of Belgium’s four matches thus far.
The Red Devils’ fifth fixture of the tournament is a match-up with fellow favourites Italy, who boast an even better run of form than Belgium coming into Euro 2020. The prize at stake is a place in the last four of the European Championship, and a second successive semi-final appearance at a major tournament for Martinez’s men.