Hazard limps out of friendly but there's 'nothing to worry about'

Sports | 13 Jun 2018

Coach Roberto Martinez says there is "nothing to worry about" regarding Eden Hazard's fitness after the Belgium skipper limped out of their final World Cup warm-up match against Costa Rica.

Hazard, pictured, was substituted with a dead leg in the 70th minute of Belgium's 4-1 win in Brussels but Martinez expects the playmaker to be fit for the start of their campaign in Russia.

"Eden is okay, he had a little trouble, but it's nothing to worry about," Martinez said. "I really enjoyed his performance. He was sharp and strong, he was majestic ... He just came off because he had a little bit of a dead leg, a little bit of a knock on his leg."

Belgium head into the tournament on a 19-match unbeaten run and will face Panama in their Group G opener on Monday. Tunisia and England are the other teams in the pool.

Romelu Lukaku scored twice against Costa Rica, Dries Mertens and Michy Batshuayi were also on target, and Hazard impressed with his creativity and speed.

Costa Rica, who were quarter-finalists four years ago and will play Brazil, Serbia and Switzerland in Group E, went ahead against the run of play with a goal by captain Bryan Ruiz in the 24th minute.

Mertens equalized before Lukaku scored either side of half-time and Batshuayi completed an impressive win for Belgium, whose team are hoping they can finally do justice to their golden generation tag in Russia. Belgium disappointed in previous outings at major tournaments, losing in the quarter-finals to Argentina at the last World Cup in Brazil and then at the same stage to Wales at Euro 2016, both under Marc Wilmots.

Meanwhile, there was confusion around the day's other friendly, also featuring two Russia-bound sides, which was played behind closed doors at the home of third-tier Groedig, a village near Salzburg, Austria.

Senegal beat South Korea 2-0 but details of the game were not even available on betting websites, which generally carry results from even the most obscure matches.

REUTERS

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