Eden Hazard Jan Vertonghen Kevin De BruyneGetty/GOAL

‘Too old’ - Vertonghen bites back at De Bruyne & Hazard after Belgium’s shock defeat to Morocco

  • Golden Generation hasn't delivered
  • More struggles at Qatar 2022
  • Still have a chance to reach last-16

WHAT HAPPENED? Roberto Martinez’s side are sweating on a place in the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup following a shock 2-0 defeat to Morocco, with the nation’s so-called ‘Golden Generation’ once again struggling to deliver on expectations. De Bruyne has said that is because Belgium’s best players are “too old” and the whole squad is “ageing”, while national team captain Hazard said before a meeting with Morocco: “Our defenders are not the fastest and they know that.”

WHAT THEY SAID: Vertonghen, who forms part of that defence, has told reporters after seeing the Red Devils draw a blank and fail to keep a clean sheet in their latest outing at Qatar 2022: “I guess we attack badly because we are also too old up front. We didn’t create enough chances. We conceded the same goal twice at the near post.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Belgium boss Martinez has also been quizzed on pre-match comments that ultimately did his side few favours as they came unstuck against impressive African opponents: “This is the first time I’ve heard those comments from Kevin. At a World Cup, the players have to speak to the media every day, 90% of it will be positive but there are always one or two lines that don’t fit into the context. A player is allowed to air their view. We’ve been together for six years now and comments won’t help us to win. Maybe it was a double-bluff. It’s what happens behind the scenes that matters.”

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Jan Vertonghen Belgium 2022 World CupGetty

Kevin De Bruyne Belgium 2022 World CupGetty

Eden Hazard Belgium 2022Getty Images

WHAT NEXT? Belgium now need a positive result in their final Group F fixture against Croatia in order to make the knockout stages, with that crucial clash set to take place on Thursday.