Belgium are not counting on Kevin De Bruyne being ready for the Group B game. The Man City midfielder joined the rest of the Belgian squad on Monday at their base in Tubize but was sent straight for more medical tests, after a double facial fracture suffered in the Champions League final.
He had a small surgery on the injury last week but had always been planning to only join up with Belgium one week ahead of the Euro 2020 kick off in order to have a break after a long club season.
While De Bruyne’s participation is uncertain, captain Eden Hazard returned on Sunday in a 1-0 win over Croatia for his first international in some 18 months, coming on for the last eight minutes after an injury-plagued club season.
“It didn’t matter how many minutes Eden played, but that he played. That’s a big step mentally.
“I’m happy with how he came in. He picked up the pace of the game quickly. When will Eden be ready for 90 minutes? That’s hard to say. The most important thing is that he is medically ready.”
As for Russia, Andrei Mostovoy tested positive for Covid-19 and was replaced in the squad by defender Roman Yevgenyev on Friday.
Here is how we predict the two sides will line up…
Belgium vs Russia predicted lineups
Belgium XI: Courtois; Alderweireld, Denayer, Vertonghen; Meunier, Castagne, Dendoncker, Tielemans; E. Hazard, Carrasco; Lukaku
Russia XI: Shuhin; Semyonov, Dzhikiya, Kudryashov; Fernandes, Zobnin, Ozdoev, Zhirkov; Golovin, Miranchuk; Dzbuya
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet, Matz Sels
Defenders: Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Thomas Vermaelen, Thomas Meunier, Jason Denayer, Dedryck Boyata, Leander Dendoncker, Timothy Castagne
Midfielders: Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Nacer Chadli, Yannick Carrasco, Youri Tielemans, Thorgan Hazard, Dennis Praet, Hans Vanaken
Forwards: Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens, Romelu Lukaku, Christian Benteke, Michy Batshuayi, Jeremy Doku, Leandro Trossard
Goalkeepers: Yuri Dyupin, Matvei Safonov, Anton Shunin
Defenders: Georgi Dzhikiya, Igor Diveev, Yuri Zhirkov, Vyacheslav Karavaev, Fedor Kudryashov, Andrei Semenov, Mario Fernandes, Roman Yevgenyev
Midfielders:Dmitri Barinov, Rifat Zhemaletdinov, Maksim Mukhin, Aleksandr Golovin, Daniil Fomin, Roman Zobnin, Alexei Ionov, Daler Kuzyayev, Magomed Ozdoev, Denis Makarov, Aleksei Miranchuk, Denis Cheryshev
Forwards: Artem Dzyuba, Anton Zabolotny, Aleksandr Sobolev