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Sport

Belgium hope to have Vertonghen in defence at Wembley

Belgium's Jan Vertonghen against Denmark's Yussuf Poulsen during Nations League group stage soccer match at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark September 5, 2020. Ritzau Scanpix/Liselotte Sabroe via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. DENMARK OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN DENMARK

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium are confident defender Jan Vertonghen will be able to line up against England on Sunday despite a broken cheekbone suffered three weeks ago.

“The medical staff must first give us the OK, but it is looking good,” said coach Roberto Martinez ahead of the Nations League game at Wembley on Sunday.

Vertonghen was hurt playing for his new Portuguese club Benfica last month and sat out their league game against Farense last Sunday, but then surprisingly travelled to join up with the Belgium squad.

He was not included in Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Ivory Coast in Brussels but is in line to play against England in the Nations League clash on Sunday and also away the game away against Iceland next Wednesday.

If he plays on Sunday, it is quick return to London for the 33-year-old defender who did not have his contract at Tottenham Hotspur renewed last season, joining Benfica instead on a three-year deal. He would also renew his defensive partnership with ex-Spurs team mate Toby Alderweireld.

Vertonghen, whose 120 appearances makes him Belgium’s most capped player, has had a painful transition to Portugal, first scoring an own goal that effectively knocked his club out of the Champions League and then suffering the facial injury.

Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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