Dries Mertens’ wife Kat Kerkhofs reveals details of ‘really awkward’ Belgium barbeque


Belgium’s fractured squad had a ‘REALLY awkward’ team barbeque just hours after Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Jan Vertonghen clashed in a dressing room altercation, reveals Dries Mertens’ wife, as their World Cup hopes hang in the balance

The wife of Belgian forward Dries Mertens has shed further light on the tension within the country’s camp at the World Cup as she claimed a team barbeque held after three players were involved in a dressing room bust-up following their defeat by Morocco was ‘really awkward’.

An inquest into Belgium’s 2-0 loss by Morocco saw Kevin De Bruyne, Jan Vertonghen and Eden Hazard clash in the dressing room after the match in Qatar. 

Striker Romelu Lukaku had to pull his team-mates apart as desperate players tried to calm the situation inside the Al Thumama stadium, according to RTL Sport.

It came after Vertonghen appeared to aim a jibe at De Bruyne in his post-match interview in response to controversial comments made by the Manchester City star, who said the Belgian side had ‘no chance’ of winning the World Cup as they are ‘too old’. 

Kat Kerkhofs, Mertens’ wife, has revealed the issues in the side were also evident at a BBQ held at their team hotel, the Hilton Salwa Beach, just hours after the three players had been involved in an apparent altercation.

‘That was really awkward,’ Kerkhofs told the MIDMID MONDIAL podcast. ‘The players were logically still very disappointed.’

Dries Mertens’ wife, Kat Kerkhofs, said a team BBQ after the Morocco defeat was awkward

Defender Jan Vertonghen was also involved

As was star midfielder Kevin de Bruyne

Defender Jan Vertonghen (left) and Kevin de Bruyne (right) were among the players involved in the dressing room clash

Tensions between the players spilled over following their shock 2-0 defeat by Morocco

Tensions between the players spilled over following their shock 2-0 defeat by Morocco

Kerkhofs also claimed, however, that the players were ‘sweet’ with each other the morning after the game. 

‘But I thought it was strange to read that there are tensions within the group,’ she added.

‘The next morning everyone said hello to each other with a kiss. They do all that. So I think they are all super sweet to each other.’

Tension in the camp had grown after De Bruyne had dismissed his ‘ageing’ Belgian side’s chances of winning the World Cup in Qatar.

Speaking after the Group F loss to Morocco, Vertonghen seemed to reference his team-mates surprise comments.

Kerkhofs claimed that the players were 'sweet' with each other on the morning after the Morocco defeat

Kerkhofs claimed that the players were ‘sweet’ with each other on the morning after the Morocco defeat

‘We probably also attack badly because we are too old, that must be it now, surely?’ Vertonghen said.

‘We have a lot of quality up front, but so does Morocco, and they came out better. This is very frustrating.’

De Bruyne has also been slammed by the Belgian press after pictures shared by the country’s FA showed the 31-year-old’s poor body language before Sunday’s game began.

Belgium’s Twitter account posted a picture from inside a pre-match huddle prior to the Morocco match, where substitute Lukaku was giving a pre-match team talk to his side.

De Bruyne is the only player not embracing the rest of his team in the image, as he stands with his arms by his side, seemingly motionless as Lukaku speaks.

De Bruyne cut an isolated figure in Belgium's pre-match huddle before their defeat to Morocco on Sunday

De Bruyne cut an isolated figure in Belgium’s pre-match huddle before their defeat to Morocco on Sunday

The picture was picked up by Belgian website HLN, with former Red Devils striker Gilles De Bilde picking it apart in his post-match analysis.

De Bilde added that De Bruyne’s frustrations are rubbing off on others, saying: ‘He is the best player in this selection, but he frustrates the others and is frustrated because it is not working himself. And that’s not a good sign.’

Belgium had arrived in Qatar hoping to live up to their ‘golden generation’ tag by winning the World Cup for the first time in the country’s history.

But the defeat to Morocco – and the manner in which they were soundly beaten by the outsiders – has left their hopes in the balance and they are facing a battle to qualify for the last 16.

Belgium will crash out of the tournament if they lose to Croatia in their final group game on Thursday.

The Red Devils will also be eliminated if they draw with Croatia and Morocco avoid defeat in their clash with Canada. 

The surprise defeat to Morocco has left Belgium's hopes of qualifying for the knockout stage in the balance

The surprise defeat to Morocco has left Belgium’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stage in the balance

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