Belgium got a huge game from their two biggest names today as Chelsea star Eden Hazard and Manchester United man Romelu Lukaku each bagged a brace in the 5-2 rout over Tunisia. This feat made them the first teammates to score twice in the same World Cup game since Toni Kroos and Andre Schurrle accomplished the feat in the 2014, when Germany destroyed Brazil 7-1 in the semi-final. However, they did not emerged unscathed.
Lukaku was subbed off for fellow United man Marouane Fellaini in 59′ due to an ankle issue. Hazard came off in the 68′ due to calf pain, but he was still walking freely after the match.
Teammate Dries Mertens also suffered a knock, and it’s on the same body part as Lukaku (ankle). With Belgium already qualified for the round of 16, it is very likely that no chances will be taken in Thursday’s clash with England. We probably won’t see Hazard or Lukaku. What was one of the most anticipated group stage games of the tournament on paper could now take on an entirely different look.
Belgium manager Roberto Martinez promises big changes in his starting XI for this one, and you that most likely means we’ll see some of the starters rested.
“We need to assess the three injury concerns. We’ll make decisions based on that but there will be major changes against England,” Martinez said.
In regards to Lukaku, who has absolutely been on fire lately in international duty, Martínez said this:
“It’s his external ankle ligament of his left foot. It was a knock that he had late in the first half and he tried to play through it and he couldn’t. He’s going to be assessed and then we’ll find out a bit more in 48 hours.”
It’s possible Thursday’s match will decide the Group G winner, but we’ll have to see what happens in England-Panama a few hours from now. There are some who believe finishing runners-up in Group G would be preferable to winning it, because a more favorable match-up would result from that position.
Martinez assured the media that his side won’t be easing up or taking the Three Lions encounter lightly.
“Football has a strange knack to punish you if you don’t treat things professionally and in the right manner,” he said.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, is currently a regular contributor to SB Nation, WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.
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