Belgium have come out en masse to deny a rift in the camp, after reports emerged of irreconcilable differences between certain players.
Jan Vertonghen, Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois all spoke to the press on Tuesday to deny crisis talks in the team, saying there was a team meeting but about their issues on the pitch.
Real Madrid forward Hazard denied that there were any major issues.
“It wasn’t a big thing, everything that has been said has been exaggerated. We had a meeting yesterday and we talked about many issues. Nothing happened in the dressing room. Only the coach spoke. I spoke to Kevin De Bruyne, he does believe in the group.”
De Bruyne had suggested that Belgium’s so-called ‘Golden Generation’ are now “too old” to compete for a World Cup crown, with those comments said to have contributed to rifts forming.
Belgium kook forward to their final group game against Croatia, where they know they will likely have to win to go through.
His teammate Courtois, often a louder voice, admitted that he was not happy, but things had been blown out of proportion.
“No one is happy right now, but we think we’ll win on Thursday to get through. It’s football, anything can happen, but we’re going to give it our all. We are angry in the dressing room for losing, we are disappointed with the result. The coach also spoke after the game. We believe that the media have exaggerated the situation too much. We think we can qualify.”
Asked whether there was a mole in the camp, Courtois responded that it was ridiculous to think about that – but did send a word of warning too.
“We work with a lot of people apart from the players, maybe someone said something. We don’t need to look for the person that said something. Of course, if we find him, it will be his last day in the team.”