Vertonghen appears to take swipe at De Bruyne and Hazard - 'I guess we are also too old up front'

By Sports Desk November 27, 2022 663

Jan Vertonghen appeared to take a swipe at team-mates Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard following Belgium's shock World Cup defeat by Morocco.

With this tournament regarded as the last shot at glory for the Red Devils' golden generation, Roberto Martinez's side were well short of their best as late goals by Romain Saiss and Zakaria Aboukhlal snatched a 2-0 victory for the Atlas Lions.

Prior to the Group F showdown, De Bruyne and Hazard claimed an ageing Belgium were better equipped to win the World Cup four years ago, when they were narrowly beaten 1-0 by France in the semi-finals.

"We are too old. I think our chance [to win] was in 2018," the Manchester City midfielder said. "We have a good team, but it is getting older.

"We lost key players. We have good new players coming in, but they are not at the level of other players in 2018. I see us more as underdogs."

Skipper Hazard, who feels his side had "greater chances" of glory in Russia, added: "We don't have the three fastest centre-backs in the world, but they know that."

After drawing a blank against Morocco following a 1-0 win over Canada, Belgium have scored the least amount of goals after their opening two matches at a World Cup since the inaugural tournament in 1930 (none).

Vertonghen appeared to take a dig at his team-mates when addressing the media in the mixed zone following the loss. "I guess we attack badly because we are also too old up front," he said.

Defeat to 2018 runners-up Croatia in their final Group F match on Thursday would result in an early exit from the competition, and Thibaut Courtois insists the Red Devils must raise their game.

"We know that Croatia are an excellent team, they have talent and are well-organised," he said. "They are good at counter-attacks, one-on-one and have no flaws.

"It will be like a final - after all, they are the finalists of the last World Cup. So far, we haven't played adequately in this tournament, if we want to win we have to level up."

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Last modified on Monday, 28 November 2022 07:26
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