De Bruyne not concerned by eye injury

By Sports Desk June 19, 2021

Kevin De Bruyne has no fear over any lasting impact of the facial injury he sustained ahead of Euro 2020 after making his first appearance of the tournament for Belgium.

Manchester City star De Bruyne suffered a fractured nose and left orbital in a challenge with Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger during the Champions League final last month.

The injury did not prevent him from featuring in Roberto Martinez's Belgium squad, with the 29-year-old undergoing what the Red Devils coach described as a "small intervention" – rather than full surgery – to help protect the affected area and ensure De Bruyne did not have to wear a mask when he returned to action.

After missing Belgium's first Group B game, a 3-0 win over Russia, De Bruyne came off the bench to inspire Martinez's team to a 2-1 comeback win over Denmark on Thursday, teeing up Thorgan Hazard's equaliser before scoring a stunning winner.

With Belgium's progression from Group B secured, they face Finland in Saint Petersburg on Monday and De Bruyne said his full focus is on working his way back to full match sharpness, with no concerns over his injury.

"It is just a bit irritating," he told a news conference on Saturday. "But I am used to it now. I am also less scared in the heading duels. When I was on the field, I did not think about it.

"I was not upset with Rudiger, it was one of those things on the field. He tried to block me, not to break my nose, and so it was unlucky for me.

"I knew I would not make the first match against Russia but might get some time off the bench against Denmark. I think the timing with 45 minutes and then starting against Finland is ideal to get some rhythm back.

"I felt good being back, the first half-hour was good. After that it was more difficult, but that was normal because I was playing my first minutes in three weeks. I hope to be able to hold out against Finland for a longer period of time."

In his time on the pitch in Copenhagen, De Bruyne created two chances, had two shots – both of which hit the target – and completed 74.1 per cent of 27 attempted passes.

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