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De Bruyne warns Hazard ahead of World cup – ‘players will try and kick you’

Kevin De Bruyne has sent a stern warning to Belgium team-mate Eden Hazard ahead of his country’s opening World Cup fixture next Monday evening.

Belgium thrashed Costa Rica 4-1 in their final warm-up game before the tournament on Monday, thanks to goals from Dries Mertens, Romelu Lukaku (2) and Michy Batshuayi.

However Roberto Martinez’s suffered a big blow when Chelsea forward Eden Hazard limped off the pitch after 70 minutes following a heavy challenge resulting him suffering a dead leg.

He also came off injured in Belgium previous friendly – a 3-0 win over Egypt.

While the Chelsea star is expected to be fit for Belgium’s opener in less than a weeks time, Manchester City midfielder and Hazard’s compatriot Kevin De Bruyne says the winger must toughen up if he is have an impact in Russia.

“If you are good then people try to kick you,” De Bruyne told the Telegraph. “He [Hazard] is in a position where a lot of people are around him and you get kicked.

“Even if he gets kicked we get a free-kick, an advantage, and they get a yellow, so it is positive. You need to calculate what is coming.

“You try to stay calm as much as possible. Sometimes that isn’t easy but you just try.”

Belgium face Panama in their Group G opener next Monday, before taking on Tunisia and England in their final group games.