Belgium dressing room bust-up followed by ‘awkward barbeque’ as World Cup unravels

Will Ford
De bruyne alderweireld

The Belgium players attended what turned out to be an understandably “awkward barbeque” in the wake of their dressing room bust-up.

Belgium fell to a 2-0 defeat to the African side on Sunday to leave their qualification to the last 16 at the World Cup in the balance ahead of their last group game against Croatia on Thursday.

The Red Devils now need to beat Croatia to qualify for the knockout phase and given their performances in defeat to Morocco and their lucky win over Canada, that feels very unlikely.

And Kevin De Bruyne, Jan Vertonghen and Eden Hazard reportedly had to be pulled apart by Romelu Lukaku in the dressing room after the game, hours before the whole squad attended a barbeque at the team hotel.

Kat Kerkhofs, Dries Mertens’ wife, said it wasn’t the most comfortable of gatherings.

“That was really awkward,” Kerkhofs told the MIDMID MONDIAL podcast. “The players were logically still very disappointed.”

But she added that she was surprised to hear of the altercation between the players.

“But I thought it was strange to read that there are tensions within the group,” she added.

“The next morning everyone said hello to each other with a kiss. They do all that. So I think they are all super sweet to each other.”

Tensions in the squad were already high after Kevin De Bruyne’s comments last week.

Asked by The Guardian whether Belgium could win the World Cup, De Bruyne answered: “No chance, we’re too old.

“I think our chance was 2018. We have a good team, but it is ageing. We lost some key players. 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.”

Jan Vertonghen was visibly aggrieved with De Bruyne after their shock loss, firing back at his teammate’s previous suggestion.

He said: “We probably also attack badly because we are too old, that must be it now, surely?

“We have a lot of quality up front, but so does Morocco, and they came out better. This is very frustrating.”

And tensions boiled over in the dressing room after the game according to the Daily Mail, who claim Vertonghen, De Bruyne and captain Eden Hazard engaged in ‘violent altercations’.

Lukaku ‘had to pull his teammates apart as desperate players tried to calm the situation inside the Al Thumama stadium’.

READ MORE: De Bruyne the biggest culprit as ‘too old’ Belgium are actually just a bit sh*t