Romelu Lukaku is an injury doubt for Belgium’s final group game at the World Cup against England, while Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens have also emerged as concerns.
Manchester United striker Lukaku, who scored twice to take his tally for Russia 2018 to four goals in two matches, was substituted after taking a bang to his heel during Belgium’s 5-2 victory over Tunisia at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow on Saturday.
Speaking in the post-match news conference, Belgium manager Roberto Martiniez said Lukaku has “external ligament” damage on his left foot, although the player himself played down the severity of the problem.
“I could have gone off right away but I wanted to push it,” said Lukaku. “We’ll see with the physio tomorrow.”
Chelsea forward Hazard – who also scored twice against Tunisia – has a calf injury while Napoli’s Mertens has “a little bit of a knock on his ankle”, according to Martinez.
All three players will be assessed within the next 48 hours.
Lukaku also believes the best is yet to come from this Belgium side as they prepare to face Gareth Southgate’s team in Kaliningrad on Thursday.
“We can still do better,” added Lukaku, whose goal tally surpasses a previous Belgian record for scoring in a single World Cup finals and matches the current tournament leading scorer, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
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“It is important we did better than in the previous match. That is what we did. Against England we still have to do better.”
Already by far Belgium’s top scorer in all international competitions with 40 goals, at just 25 years old Lukaku is carrying high hopes that he is the final piece in a jigsaw.
“Today all the offensive players were able to bring something and the defenders were there too. As a team we keep improving,” he said, playing down his own prospects of claiming World Cup records.