An angry Jan Vertonghen has hit back at his teammate Kevin De Bruyne for his unguarded comments after Morocco’s shock win over Belgium.
Morocco sailed to a shock 2-0 win over Belgium in their second World Cup group F clash at the Al Thumama stadium.
The Moroccans had less of the ball, managing only 33% of the possession against Belgium’s 67% throughout the game, but it was another classic performance by the African side.
While playing second fiddle to the European giants, Morocco knew their onions when going forward on counterattack.
They were threatening on the attack when winning possession and had similar shots, but one shot more on target than Belgium.
While Belgians always hit the Moroccan brick wall when attempting to break through their defense, they failed to create any clear chances in the game.
Subsequently, they got punished in the 73rd minute by the Moroccans, with Saiss giving the North Africans the lead.
While Belgium pressed hard to find an equalizer, another goal by Aboukhal in stoppage time sank Belgium and killed off any hope of a point for the Roberto Martinez-led team.
The defeat has seen tensions in the squad soared, with Jan Vertonghen locking horns with his teammate Kevin De Bruyne in a bitter exchange.
The Anderlecht left-back and midfielder fired back at De Bruyne’s comments following the defeat to Morocco as he dissected the Morocco defeat.
De Bruyne had reportedly slammed his team for being too old for the World Cup to churn out the desired results.
In an interview published by the Guardian on Saturday, the day before the crucial World Cup group match, De Bruyne wrote off Belgium’s chances of glory because Roberto Martinez’s squad is ‘ageing’.
He maintained that Belgium had a golden chance to give their best in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, not now when most members of the squad are in their 30s.
He added that Belgium had lost some outstanding players, and new players have also come in as well, but they cannot rank with the quality of the 2018 squad.
”I think our chance was 2018. We have a good team, but it is ageing. We lost some key players”, the Belgian midfielder said. “We have some good new players coming, but they are not at the level other players were in 2018. I see us more as outsiders.”
However, former Tottenham defender hinted at internal problems in the Belgian World Cup squad as a factor that contributed to the defeat.
He reiterated how the team failed by conceding cheap and unbelievable two goals against the Moroccans from the near post.
“In the end we conceded two identical goals on the set piece, twice at the near post. Balls that should never go in,” he said.
Veronghen also said the team could not create chances and attack well because of the age factor, but he asked, “must it be now”?
The 35-year-old pointed out that even Morocco did not do well either when attacking, and the squad is equally not younger than Belgium’s. “There’s so much going through my mind right now, things I shouldn’t say in the open air,” he concluded.
De Bruyne and Co finished in third place in Russia four years ago, but they will need to find their feet fast when they take on the team that – on paper at least – should prove their sternest test in the group when they take on Croatia in their next game.