Euro Cup 2024: Both Belgium and Brazil are set to face significant setbacks in the upcoming major football tournaments of 2024 due to the absence of key players. The UEFA European Championship (Euro 2024) will witness the omission of star goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois from the Belgian squad, while Brazil will miss the prowess of Neymar in the Copa America.
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Courtois sustained a critical anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear in August, sidelining him for the entire season with Real Madrid. Despite the setback, Courtois expressed optimism in an interview with Belgium’s Sporza on Tuesday. Stating, “Everything is going according to plan, even a little better than expected. I would normally only be able to start walking after four months. But I’ve already been working on it for a week. I haven’t had any setbacks. Now it’s important to be patient.”
Regrettably, Courtois confirmed his absence from the Euro 2024, emphasizing the need to fully recover before setting any return dates. He revealed, “Because of the injury, there will be no European Championships for me. First, I have to recover 100 per cent, and then it’s better not to put a date on it. If I’m lucky, I can play in May. But then you can never be 100 per cent ready for a big tournament.”
Euro Cup 2024: Courtois’ Departure Unveils Conflicts beyond Injury
However, the goalkeeper’s departure from the Belgian national team may not solely be attributed to injury. In June, he left the team’s training camp following the Euro 2024 qualifier against Austria. Citing a conflict with manager Domenico Tedesco. Courtois acknowledged the impact of his decision on the team and apologized, attributing it to a personal conflict.
Courtois vehemently denied leaving due to issues related to captaincy but expressed a lack of respect within the national team setup. “Here, in Madrid, I get respect from everyone at the club. With [Belgium], I don’t really feel that,” he stated. The conflict intensified when Tedesco announced Romelu as captain against Austria and Courtois. As captain against Estonia shortly before the respective matches.
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Providing insight into the disagreement, Courtois criticized Tedesco for inconsistency, stating, “Tedesco gave me seven different versions for why Romelu was captain. Every time it was different. The coach made no effort to find a solution but simply said that he would tell the press everything. He wanted to pressure me not to leave and threaten me. It was a private conversation. That’s a breach of trust between player and coach.”
Euro 2024 Anticipation amidst Key Player Absences
The Euro 2024 is scheduled to take place in Germany from June 14 to July 14, 2024. Belgium finds itself in Group E alongside Slovakia, Romania, and the playoff Winner B. The playoff berth will be contested by Israel, Iceland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Ukraine in late March 2024. The absence of Courtois adds a challenge for Belgium as they prepare for this prestigious tournament on German soil.
A team that will secure qualification for the European Championship in the March playoff matches. The air is thick with anticipation as Belgium awaits the outcome of the clashes involving Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, and Iceland. To, read more about Slovakia vs Netherlands decided one-sided clash in Euro Cup 2024 Soccer Tournament Qualification.
Lamar conveyed to Brazil’s Reed 98, “Initiating the recovery process prematurely and taking undue risks is unwarranted at this point. We anticipate that Neymar will be ready for a comeback at the commencement of the 2024 European season in August.”
Anticipated Return in Euro 2024 Season
When Neymar endured a severe knee injury during the 2026 FIFA World Cup South American qualifier against Uruguay in mid-Octobe. The prognosis from the Brazilian national team’s doctor, Rodrigo Lasmar, indicated an extensive recovery period. In a recent update on Tuesday, Lasmar officially declared Neymar’s unavailability for the Copa America in 2024.
Underlining the importance of a cautious rehabilitation approach. Lasmar emphasized, “It’s too early. There’s no point in skipping steps to recover sooner and taking unnecessary risks. Our expectation is that he will be prepared to return at the start of the 2024 season in Europe, which is August.” Stressing the need for patience, Lasmar explained that discussing a return before nine months is premature, emphasizing the global concept of respecting the biological time for knee ligament surgeries recovery.
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