De Bruyne: ‘Too Early’ for Decision on Belgium Future

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Kevin De Bruyne stated it is too early to decide on his international future following Belgium’s 1-0 loss to France in the Euro 2024 round of 16.

 

Kevin De Bruyne expressed his uncertainty about his future in international football after Belgium’s 1-0 defeat to France in the round of 16 at Euro 2024 on Monday. The match, held at the Arena Düsseldorf, ended Belgium’s hopes of advancing further in the tournament, with Jan Vertonghen’s own goal in the 85th minute being the decisive factor.

De Bruyne, who is 33 years old, has been a pivotal figure for Belgium since his debut in 2010. With over 100 caps, he played a significant role in Belgium’s third-place finish at the 2018 World Cup. However, the team has struggled to reach the semifinals of a major tournament since then. Following the loss to France, De Bruyne indicated that it was too early to make any decisions about his international career. He emphasized the need to process the defeat and rest after a long season before making any commitments regarding his future with the national team.

Despite the loss, De Bruyne remains a crucial part of Belgium coach Domenico Tedesco’s plans for the 2026 World Cup, which will be held in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Tedesco acknowledged De Bruyne’s importance to the team and suggested that it was not the right time to ask about his future immediately after such a disappointing result.

Belgium’s strategy against France involved sitting deep and looking to counterattack, a plan that saw them create several good opportunities. Goalkeeper Mike Maignan was forced into making crucial saves from Romelu Lukaku and De Bruyne, but ultimately, it was France who clinched the victory late in the game. De Bruyne lamented the result, acknowledging that Belgium’s defensive plan was effective until the unfortunate deflection that led to Vertonghen’s own goal.

Tedesco deployed De Bruyne in a deeper midfield role, pushing Yannick Carrasco, Jérémy Doku, and Loïs Openda further forward alongside Lukaku to exploit space behind France’s defense. De Bruyne still managed to get into attacking positions and had a significant chance to score just minutes before the own goal. Despite playing in a more defensive position, De Bruyne contributed significantly to the team’s efforts, although he was unable to capitalize on his scoring opportunity.

Belgium’s journey to the knockout stages included a loss to Slovakia, followed by a win against Romania and a draw with Ukraine. Despite these mixed results, they managed to advance to face France. Tedesco dismissed the notion that Belgium lacked boldness in their approach during the tournament. He pointed out that the team pressed high and created many opportunities, particularly against Slovakia and Romania. However, he also acknowledged that the fear of conceding a goal can affect players’ mentality as matches progress.

Reflecting on the match against France, Tedesco noted the quality of Belgium’s chances and expressed his disappointment that key players like Lukaku and Doku ended the game without goals or assists, despite their strong performances. He highlighted the difficulty of performing a deep analysis immediately after the final whistle, especially given the emotional toll of conceding a late goal.

As Belgium exits Euro 2024, the focus shifts to the future of key players like De Bruyne. His decision about continuing his international career will be crucial for Belgium’s preparations for upcoming tournaments. For now, the team will need to regroup and reflect on their performance in Germany, aiming to build on their strengths and address any shortcomings in their quest for future success.

 

 

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