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Injured Belgian fullback Meunier to stay behind for medical tests

BRUSSELS : Injured fullback Thomas Meunier will not travel with Belgium when they leave for the European Championship on Wednesday but will stay behind to continue treatment on a hamstring injury, the Belgian football association said on Sunday.

The right back was injured early in Saturday’s warm-up international against Luxembourg in Brussels and will undergo more tests in the coming days, with the results determining whether he will be fit for the tournament in Germany.

Meunier left the field injured after less than 15 minutes of play in the 3-0 win over Luxembourg, which was the last of Belgium's preparatory games.

“He was very disappointed and of course we were too,” said Belgium coach Domenico Tedesco after the match.

“We don't know yet how bad it is but it doesn't look good. He felt something. This really hurts. Especially because Thomas had been very positive in the group in recent days, very professional too. Let's hope for the best but really it doesn't look good.”

Meunier’s injury comes after Tedesco picked defenders Arthur Theate and Jan Vertonghen in the squad for the Euros despite both still carrying injury.

Tedesco said he would be patient with their rehabilitation and was determined to keep them in the squad even if they were not ready to play in Belgium’s first matches at the tournament.

Countries are allowed to make injury replacements before their first match at the tournament but if a player is injured after their opening game he cannot be replaced.

It leaves Belgium likely needing to make a decision on Meunier's participation at Euro 2024 before their opening Group E clash against Slovakia in Frankfurt on June 17.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Clare Fallon)