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WORLD CUP DIARY: Spain prepare for last-16
Vincent Kompany remains integral member of the Belgium national side.
He suffered a groin injury just days before the World Cup started and his participation looked in some doubt.
But manager Roberto Martinez insisted he would remain part of the squad and given time to recover.
"It is one of those blows nobody deserves," Martinez said. "Since day one, he has worked at an incredible level. He has tried to drive the team forward and taken responsibility."
It's proven a shrewd move by the former Everton boss.
Kompany missed Belgium's opening two matches - a 3-0 win over Panama and a 5-2 victory over Tunisia - but returned in the 1-0 win over England as a second-half substitute.
He looked in fine form, and Martinez will now be hoping his captain can lead the team through their knock-out phase, which starts on Monday with a last-16 tie against Japan in Rostov.
Kompany isn't just Nelgium;s best defender - he;s the leader of the side, and the man the rest of the squad look up to off the field.
Martinez tends to play a 3-4-3 formation, with Kompany in the middle of his back three. It's a fluid formation aimed at allowing the team's attacking players the freedom to create.
Kompany made his international debut as a 17-year-old when Belgium took on France back in 2004.
Since then, he's racked up 78 caps and is widely considered to be one of Belgium’s greatest ever defenders.
He was handed the captaincy in 2011 by then-manager Georges Leekens, and a day later he scored the winner in a friendly against Bulgaria.
He scored twice in qualifying and then led the side at the 2014 World Cup, Belgium’s first appearance in the finals since 2002, where they made it to the quarter-finals before losing to Argentina.
However, he missed all of Euro 2016 through injury as Belgium. In his absence, they again reached the quarter-finals but lost to Wales.
Can his return from injury give Belgium the additional stability they need to go all the way in Russia?
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