Belgium manager Roberto Martinez has confirmed that both Thomas Vermaelen and Vincent Kompany are ruled out for the opening World Cup game against Panama but he remains optimistic that the duo can return before the knockout stages. Vermaelen picked up a hamstring problem at Barcelona last month whilst Kompany sustained a groin injury during the Red Devils’ warm-up game against Portugal.
Speaking to reporters, he said: “Thomas Vermaelen has improved really well, a little bit like we expected. He’s not going to be involved in the game against Panama and that is going to be a decision to see about using him accordingly depending on his match fitness. Medically I think he could be fit for the next two games. With Kompany we’re going to take through tomorrow to make the final call as we follow through the procedure. We are confident as well with the progress he has made since the Portugal game that he will be available to be involved in the third game of the group phase.”