‘Can someone shake 4/10 De Bruyne awake?’: Belgium’s press and players turn on talisman, with squad split by ‘mutual distrust’ amid fears they will crash out of the World Cup after Morocco humbling
Belgium’s press have joined Jan Vertonghen in turning on Kevin De Bruyne following the Red Devils’ 2-0 defeat to Morocco.
The loss has left De Bruyne and his side on the verge of World Cup elimination, with three points to their names and just 2018 runners up Croatia left to play in Group F.
The midfielder put in another poor performance in the defeat, and has been slated by the media back in his home country.
Belgian media has turned on Kevin De Bruyne after Belgium’s loss to Morocco on Sunday
The midfielder has put in two poor performances for the Red Devils so far at the World Cup
The media have joined defender Jan Vertonghen (left) in targeting Belgium’s talisman
‘He lost the ball 27 times!’ Belgian website HLN wrote in their headline, targeting De Bruyne.
‘There must be new blood!’ they tagged another article. Words from former Dutch midfielder Jan Mulder. At least they somewhat agree with the midfielder.
Le Soir didn’t hold back in their criticism either. Player ratings… three for stand-in striker Michy Batshuayi, three for goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, and four for De Bruyne.
He was supposed to be the difference for the world’s number two-ranked side this tournament, but is yet to make his mark despite regularly starting for the best team in the world at club level.
De Standaard provided possibly the harshest assessment of the lot, with the headline reading: ‘Defeat against Morocco exposes mutual distrust among Red Devils.’
They added: ‘Can someone shake De Bruyne awake?’
De Bruyne had previously said Belgium were unable to win the World Cup because they are ‘too old’
Defeat to Morocco has left the side on the verge of elimination with just Croatia left to play
On De Bruyne, they then wrote: ‘His attitude shows little collegiality and empathy. De Bruyne’s failure to do so [play well] is worrying. KDB is on the field every week at Manchester City and can present good statistics. But anyone who has followed his matches closely this season will find that he is not in his best period at City either.
‘De Bruyne exudes little joy of living, his choice to discuss rather than cheer against Canada was a good illustration of this.’
De Bruyne had previously said that his side have ‘no chance’ of lifting the World Cup because they are ‘too old’.
For good measure, the 31-year-old, who has spoken out against manager Roberto Martinez in the past, said the team’s younger players are ‘not of the same level as the players who said goodbye after the 2018 World Cup’.
Jan Vertonghen said there were matters he could not discuss ‘in the open air’ after the loss
He did though take a dig at his team-mate, referencing the ‘too old’ comment De Bruyne made
They were comments team-mate Jan Vertonghen, 35, didn’t take lightly.
‘We probably also attack badly because we are too old, that must be it now, surely?’ Vertonghen said. ‘We have a lot of quality up front, but so does Morocco, and they came out better today. This is very frustrating.
‘There’s so much going through my mind right now, things I shouldn’t say in the open air. I don’t think we created any chances. Where did it go wrong?’
A clear dig at De Bruyne. There’s friction in the camp, and Belgium are on the verge of disaster. Their golden generation’s last chance, almost gone.
They will have one opportunity to save their tournament when they face Croatia on Thursday.