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De Bruyne, Hazard fitness doubts for Italy match

Belgium are sweating on the fitness of captain Eden Hazard and playmaker Kevin De Bruyne ahead of their 2020 European Championship quarterfinal against Italy in Munich on Friday, according to coach Roberto Martinez.

De Bruyne went off with an ankle injury in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Portugal in the round of 16, while Hazard also pulled up three minutes from time in a double blow to the top-ranked Belgians.

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De Bruyne has ligament bruising and Hazard suffered a hamstring twinge, Martinez told a news conference, putting their chances of playing at 50-50.

“The initial information that we have from medical staff is positive for both, they will remain with the squad and they have no structural damage,” said Martinez.

“But we are running up against time and it is very difficult to see them fully fit. So we have to take it day by day to try and get them fit.”

Both Hazard and De Bruyne had recovered from injuries just before the European Championship to help Belgium through the group phase and inject more confidence into the squad.

“We were all a bit concerned before we got the news from the scans and it was a relief to all that we can now work on trying to get them fit again,” Martinez added.

Spain said second choice goalkeeper Simon Mignolet had injured his knee and scans had shown he would not recover in time, so he was being released back to his club Club Brugge.

He is replaced by uncapped Thomas Kaminski from English club Blackburn Rovers.

Teams cannot replace outfield players in their squad once they have played their first game at the tournament but goalkeepers can be replaced in case of injury.

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