Belgium play down Hazard injury fears

Belgium manager Roberto Martinez has played down injury fears over Eden Hazard after the Chelsea player limped out of Monday's 4-1 friendly win over Costa Rica.

Hazard, Belgium's captain, hobbled off in the 70th minute after taking a blow to the foot, but Martinez says the injury is not serious.

Eden Hazard.

Photo: AP

"Eden is okay, he had a little trouble, but it's nothing to worry about," Martinez said in his post-match press conference.

"I really enjoyed his performance. He was sharp and strong, he was majestic.

"At the end he just came off because he had a little bit of a dead leg, a little bit of a knock on his leg."


The injury to Hazard overshadowed what was a positive evening for Belgium before heading off to Russia.

Romelu Lukaku was the star of the show, highlighting what a threat he will be to England when they meet in what should be a Group G decider on June 28.

The Manchester United man scored two and made one as Belgium came from behind to beat their Central American opponents, who led through Bryan Ruiz.

Dries Mertens equalised before Lukaku struck either side of half-time to take his tally to 13 goals in the last nine international games.

He then laid on a fourth for Chelsea's Michy Batshuayi.

Lukaku also allayed any fears that Hazard's injury might be serious, telling Belgian TV: "He took a direct hit, as often. He came out as a precaution."

The Red Devils are on an 18-match unbeaten run ahead of their Group G opener with Panama next Monday.

And Lukaku can only see his side getting better.

"I think we have made progress. We did not lose, it's important. We scored a lot of goals tonight," said Lukaku.

"We will still progress before the match against Panama and we will give 120 percent against them. We will continue to make progress later."

Romelu Lukaku.

Photo: AP

In Austria, Senegal scored two second-half goals to beat fellow World Cup contenders South Korea 2-0 and end a four-match winless streak.

South Korea defender Kim Young-gwon deflected an effort by Alfred N'Diaye into his own goal in the 67th minute, and striker Moussa Konate added the second from the penalty spot in injury time to give Senegal their first win since beating South Africa in November.

Initially there was confusion around the friendly which was played behind closed doors at the home of Groedig, a village near Salzburg.

Details of the game were not even available on betting websites, which generally carry results from even the most obscure matches, and there was outrage on social media, especially among those who had placed bets on the outcome.

The match appeared to kick off half an hour late and neither federation published the result on their website several hours after the end of the match, although the Senegalese website had their team's starting 11.

FIFA could not immediately be reached to comment on whether the game would be considered a full international.

Senegal opens their World Cup campaign against Poland next Tuesday before taking on Japan and Colombia in Group H.

South Korea, who have scored only once in their last three warmups, will play Sweden, Mexico and Germany in Group F.

PA and Reuters

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