Nicolas Lombaerts

Vincent Kompany to miss huge Euro qualifier with injury

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With Belgium about to play some very important games, they’ll have to do so without their very important defender.

Vincent Kompany, who missed Manchester City’s last match – a 2-2 draw with QPR – with a calf strain, will not be available for his national team, manager Marc Wilmots confirmed.

“I received a call from Vincent earlier,” Wilmots said to Belgian channel RTBF. H”e is out for Manchester City for 10 to 12 days, so is unavailable for Sunday. It’s a shame but there is no problem, there are only solutions.”

The miss is enormous as the country prepares to play Group B leaders Wales (!!) on Sunday in Euro 2016 qualification.  They do have Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld – with the latter currently playing at a high level for Southampton – as well as Nicolas Lombaerts. Because these men are all central defenders by trade, Belgium is in an ok position.

However, with Wilmots preferring to play Lombaerts on the left and Vertonghen on the right, one will have to move centrally, which will force the manager to bring on someone like Laurens de Bock (left), Jelle van Damme (left), or Thomas Meunier (right) into their preferred location in the back line.

Many are reporting that Kompany may be out as many as 10-12 days, which would rule him out of Manchester City’s return from the international break against Swansea, and it could extend to City’s do-or-die Champions League match with Bayern Munich as well.

Belgium currently sits in Group B’s third position with four points, which would qualify them for the playoff. The two spots above them are guaranteed, and are held by Wales in first (!!!!) with seven points, while Israel has six. Cyprus lurks behind them with three points.

Belgium injury update: Thomas Vermaelen out; Vincent Kompany still doubtful

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The health of Belgium’s defense has been one of the major talking points ahead to the team’s Tuesday Round of 16 match against the United States. Unfortunately for Red Devils’ fans, one of the fitness doubts that team carried out of its World Cup group stage has been resolved in the negative. Thomas Vermaelen, a potential starter at left back, has been ruled out, head coach Marc Wilmots confirmed on Monday.

While the Belgium boss said the veteran defender should be ready if his team makes the quarterfinals, the defender’s hamstring will keep him out of tomorrow’s match in Salvador. Through the tournament’s first 270 minutes, Vermaelen’s only been able to play 45, toughing out the first half against Russia after incurring his injury warming up for his team’s second match.

On Monday, Wilmots confirmed his vice-captain and been ruled out. Here’s the Belgian head coach, also speaking asked about midfielder Marouane Fellaini, from FIFA.com:

“Thomas … has not enough time to be fit by tomorrow. He will be fit if we make the quarterfinals. He will return to full squad training in a day or two. Marouane is fine, no problem.”

Vermaelen wasn’t the only Belgian injury doubt coming off the team’s last match, but as Wilmots confirmed in the same press conference, little about captain Vincent Kompany’s status has changed since he was held out on Thursday against South Korea:

“I don’t know about Vincent and whether he will be fit,” said [Wilmots]. “We will see how it evolves.

That leaves U.S. fans in the awkward position of rooting for an injury, but this is Vincent Kompany we’re talking about. The man’s always in the conversation as one of the best central defenders in the world. If he can’t go on Tuesday, U.S. fans stand a better chance of seeing their team reach its third quarterfinal.

Not that Kompany’s replacements would be bums. If the Manchester City star is out, we’ll likely see Daniel Van Buyten and Nicolas Lombaerts in the middle. Out wide, Jan Vertonghen will get the call on the left, while Toby Alderweireld