Inside the opening minute of Belgium’s 3-0 “friendly” win over Egypt on Wednesday, Eden Hazard had already been scythed down in the middle of the pitch. Tarek Hamed got a yellow card for his reckless lunge right at Hazard’s right knee, and Hazard carried on to a Man of the Match performance despite playing only 45 minutes.
But as it turns out, part of the reason he only played half the game was because he had picked up a minor knee injury along the way, and it would not be surprising at all if that initial challenge is what was the source of the knock. Several other players were taken off at half-time by manager Roberto Martinez, so we did not think too much of this before, but Hazard addressed it specifically afterwards, so there’s definitely something to watch there.
“I went off at half-time because I felt that my knee had taken a knock. But don’t worry, it’s just a knock and [on Thursday] it’ll be better.”
Belgium have one more warm-up match, on Monday against Costa Rica before heading off to the World Cup, so despite their good showing against Egypt, perhaps Hazard can be rested? We only have to think back to last summer for a Hazard injury picked up during summer international duty that carried over into the season and affected Chelsea’s campaign.
“I had fun giving rhythm to the game, creating movement and putting a ball in behind. If we want to go far in the World Cup, we will need to be as strong and keep our freshness.”
-Eden Hazard; source: Goal
You can see the tackle in question at the 35-second mark of the video below: