“Belgium World Cup stars Kevin De Bruyne, Jan Vertonghen get heated”
Belgium’s “Golden Generation” has devolved into the “Fighting Generation.”
Following the team’s shocking 2-0 World Cup loss to Morocco on Sunday, veteran stars Kevin De Bruyne, Jan Vertonghen and Eden Hazard clashed in a heated locker room altercation, according to RTL Sport.
The incident became physical and teammate Romelu Lukaku had to separate them, according to the report.
Tension inside the Red Devils’ squad has been rising since the beginning of the tournament. Asked in the build-up to the match about the team’s chances to win the World Cup, De Bruyne curiously told The Guardian that Belgium has “no chance” because the team was “too old.”
“I think our chance was 2018,” De Bruyne said. “We have a good team, but it is aging.”
It was unclear if De Bruyne, a 31-year-old attacking midfielder, was specifically shading the team’s older defenders. The 35-year-old Vertonghen has started alongside the 33-year-old Toby Alderweireld at center back for both of Belgium’s World Cup matches.
After emerging as some of the best young talents all across Europe, De Bruyne, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Hazard and Lukaku along with Thibaut Courtois and Dries Mertens offered the nation ample hope to win long-coveted major international trophies.
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The core, however, has transitioned from tantalizing dark horses, to contenders and favorites, to underachieving disappointments. The current group has not won any major trophy, only getting as far as third place in the 2018 World Cup.
Following the loss to Morocco and prior to the blowup, an enraged Vertonghen appeared to hit back at De Bruyne while speaking with reporters.
“There’s so much going through my mind right now, things I shouldn’t say in the open air,” Vertonghen said. “Where did it go wrong? We probably also attack badly because we are too old, that must be it now, surely?”
Mertens’ wife, Kat Kerkhofs, revealed the there was still vitriol at a team barbecue hours later.
“That was really awkward,” Kerkhofs told the MIDMID MONDIAL podcast. “The players were logically still very disappointed.”
Belgium sits in third place in Group F heading into their final group-stage game against Croatia on Thursday. They are one point below Morocco, who faces already-eliminated Canada, for the group’s second spot in the knockout round.
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