Bruised Captain Inspires Belgians

Belgium's captain Vincent Kompany, 28, is a charismatic and ebullient presence, perhaps the top central defender at the World Cup. He speaks five languages and has a keen sense of social responsibility. But he is also frequently injured.

updated: June 30, 2014 14:57 IST
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Belgium's Vincent Kompany, left, challenges Russia's Alexander Kokorin during the group H World Cup soccer match between Belgium and Russia at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, June 22, 2014.

© AP

Mogi Das Cruzes, Brazil: Vincent Kompany, Belgium's captain, jumped to head a corner kick during a World Cup qualifying match against Serbia last June. He hoped to land with a goal. Instead, he fell to the ground with a bloodied face, a broken nose, a fractured eye socket and a concussion.

Still, Kompany remained in the game for an hour after colliding with Serbia's goalkeeper and played the full 90 minutes, his swollen nose packed with cotton. Belgium won the crucial match, 2-1, making its first World Cup appearance since 2002 all but inevitable.

"What wouldn't you do for your country hey," Kompany wrote on his Twitter account.

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