Brussels (AFP)

Belgium could be deprived of its two creatives, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard, Friday in the quarter-final of the Euro against Italy, a situation which forces the coach Roberto Martinez to consider a "plan B".

De Bruyne's sprained ankle - following a tackle from the Portuguese Joao Palhinha in the round of 16 - and the elongation point at the back of Hazard's right thigh, keep the fans of the Red Devils in suspense.

On Wednesday, the two players did not participate in training.

“And without them, how do we do it?” Headlined the Brussels daily La Derniere Heure / Les Sports in just a few hours.

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Carrasco for Hazard?

"There is still hope to see Eden on Friday," hopes his brother Thorgan, the only scorer in the match against Portugal on Sunday.

This is to be hoped for for the Belgians because, according to the Borussia Dortmund left-hander, "Eden is an important player in the conservation of the ball".

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"It is he who keeps the ball, who takes the initiatives, who provokes and brings up the block," analyzes the younger player of Real Madrid.

The latter, who suffered his twelfth injury on Sunday in two years since arriving in Spain, has no equivalent in the core of the Red Devils.

His statistics since 2014 with Belgium speak for themselves: 21 goals and 22 assists in 49 matches!

His most natural replacement is another Madrilenian, from Atlético this one, Yannick Ferreira Carrasco.

Over the past two years, it is he who has most often surveyed the left flank of Belgium.

But after a brilliant season which saw him win La Liga, Carrasco seems to be looking for his second wind during this Euro.

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He was hardly convincing in the group stage matches against Russia and Denmark, to the point of being left on the bench against Finland.

Roberto Martinez could therefore prefer Jérémy Doku, even if, for the time being, the wisp of Rennes is more considered a joker.

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Mertens or Praet for De Bruyne?

The absence of Kevin De Bruyne would it not be the most penalizing for Belgium?

"For me, Kevin De Bruyne is number one in the world for the vision of the game and the quality of the last pass. In addition, he scores with a certain continuity," said this week the former Italian international Fabio Cannavaro in the columns of the Gazetta dello Sport.

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The unavailability of the Manchester City playmaker, already absent at the start of the tournament after suffering a broken face in the Champions League final at the end of May, would be a big blow for the Belgians.

Even if the optimism concerning him is more appropriate than for Hazard.

His ankle does not suffer "from any structural damage" and De Bruyne was "reassured" by the medical examinations, said Roberto Martinez.

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But the coach must still prepare a solution that could go through the tenure of Dries Mertens.

The Neapolitan is De Bruyne's logical replacement but he was the most disappointing Red Devil in the first four matches.

Leandro Trossard (Brighton) or Dennis Praet (Leicester) could therefore take over.

© 2021 AFP

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