Belgium face Croatia in a must-win FIFA World Cup group F match on Thursday. The Red Devils are on the verge of elimination and need all three points on offer to secure qualification to the round of 16. Not an easy task if you’d ask me considering that they are up against a Croatian team that finished runners-up in the 2018 edition of the FIFA World Cup held in Russia and are in blistering form now. Catch all the FIFA World Cup action here: xn--2022-pc5fw22r14bz8dgx6e7qb.com
Belgium’s already daunting task is not made easier by the rumours of a dressing room rift emerging from their camp. Some players were rumoured to have clashed after Belgium’s woeful defeat to Morocco, with Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne said to be the players involved. Following Belgium’s loss, a report from news outlet RTL suggested that Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne engaged in a verbal fight in the dressing room.
However, Hazard denied a confrontation in the Belgium dressing room, stating that the players only “had a good talk”. The captain also said he had spoken to Kevin De Bruyne after the City Midfielder was quoted to have said that the Belgium squad was too old to win the World Cup.
Hazard was speaking to the media along with experienced goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois on Tuesday after they replaced the players originally scheduled to talk, Yannick Carrasco and Arthur Theate.
“We had a good talk among the players,” Hazard said. “A lot has been said. We talked for an hour about good things and less good things. Now we want to win against Croatia. We now have two days to prepare. We have to be ready.”
“Nothing happened in the dressing room,” Hazard said. “Only the coach (Roberto Martinez) spoke. I spoke to Kevin De Bruyne, and he does believe in the group.”
Eden Hazard admitted the players were disappointed with their performances in the opening two matches in Qatar.
“We have to do better, we cannot deliver the performance we want (at the moment). We have to show it on the pitch, that is what counts,” he said.
“We still have quality in the group and are here to win. We lack confidence because of that last pass and that last dribble. We have to regain that confidence.”
Addressing the pre-match press conference, Courtois also denied the rumours of a dressing room clash, stating that no such incident occurred, but there were conversations over the side’s poor outing.
“There are no problems in the team, it’s just an external attempt to create internal problems. Of course, after a defeat, nobody is happy, but it brings us even closer because we know that we will have to give everything on the lawn on Thursday,” said the goalkeeper, as quoted by Belgian news outlet Walfoot.
“I was the first furious after the match, you saw the images (smile). But the problem is that there are too many lies around the group, in the press, on social networks, and everything the world takes it for granted,” he asserts. “As a group, we can’t let this negativism affect us. Even if certain things have to be said.”
He further said if the identity of the one “leaking” the news is out, they will have their “last day” in the Belgium team.
“We said things to each other, and sometimes it feels good. I don’t think we missed it, but it’s one thing to talk to each other at the table or individually or to talk in a group, to solve everything together. The problem, it’s that what’s said in the press isn’t always the truth. Whoever leaked this? We don’t need to know that. If it gets out, it’s his last day in the national team,” said Courtois.
Roberto Martinez’s men with face Croatia on Thursday in their final Group F encounter with a place in the knockout rounds at stake.