World Cup lifeline for Kompany

Vincent Kompany Belgium

Roberto Martinez has given experienced defender Vincent Kompany a lifeline to play at the World Cup despite his struggles with a groin injury.

Kompany sustained an injury against Portugal two weeks ago and Martinez has decided not to call a replacement for the Manchester City captain, who is only expected to be fit for the last group match against England.

Martinez had promised to make a call on his squad on the eve of their opening game with Panama and feels the defender could recover earlier than expected.

He said the experienced defender is a valuable member of his team and will remain part of their 23-men squad as he recovers from the injury.

The Belgium manager is also sweating on the fitness of Barcelona’s defender Thomas Vermaelen and has very few options in defence for their two opening matches in Russia.

Martinez told reporters: “We made the medical decision this morning that we are going to maintain the squad of 23 as announced.

“We are not going to use any changes. Vinny has evolved better than we thought, even though we thought that he could have a good opportunity to be involved in the group phase. Now he has a stronger opportunity.

“We see his presence, he is a very valuable part of our squad.He has experience, he has know-how. The decision is the 23 we have now will remain.”