Soccer-De Bruyne skips Belgium training

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League Final - Manchester City v Chelsea - Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal - May 29, 2021 Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne Pool via REUTERS/Jose Coelho

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Kevin De Bruyne played no part in Belgium’s training session on Wednesday, lessening the chances of him playing in their first European Championship match against Russia in St Petersburg on Saturday.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez had already said it would be unlikely that their midfield talisman would compete in the Group B clash after he suffered a double facial fracture playing for Manchester City in last month’s Champions League final.

De Bruyne fractured both his eye socket and nose and had minor surgery last week. On Monday, he joined up with his Belgian team mates for their final week of preparation but has yet to take to the training pitch.

Wearing sunglasses to mask his black eye, De Bruyne watched from the dugout at Belgium’s base in Tubize, some 25km south of Brussels, even foregoing the warm-up.

Belgium train again on Thursday before flying to St Petersburg on Friday.

Captain Eden Hazard’s participation in a full training session will temper some of the concern over De Bruyne.

Hazard is also short of fitness after an injury-filled season at Real Madrid and has trained sparingly over the last 10 days, but did make a 10-minute cameo at the end of Sunday’s friendly win over Croatia for his first appearance for the national team in 18 months.

He looks increasingly likely to play some role against Russia, even if he is not in the starting lineup

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Toby Davis)

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