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.
With the pair ruled out, Dedryck Boyata is expected to play as part of a three-man central defence alongside Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld. The Celtic defender has certainly improved on his game since his time with Manchester City but there are still question marks whether he can step up to the plate at the big stage.
Certainly with Panama and Tunisia, the Red Devils may not have much of a worry at the back but Martinez will be hoping that at least one of Kompany or Vermaelen return for the final group stage against England. Should things go the right way, Belgium could expect to face one of Poland, Colombia, Japan and Senegal in the round of 16 and they should fancy their chances of reaching the quarter-finals at the least.