Kevin De Bruyne: ‘Too early’ for Belgium future decision

DÜSSELDORF, Germany — Kevin De Bruyne said it’s too early to consider his future in international football after Belgium lost 1-0 to France in the round of 16 at Euro 2024 on Monday.

Jan Vertonghen‘s 85th-minute own goal was the difference between the two nations at the Arena Düsseldorf as De Bruyne saw another chance to win a major tournament with Belgium disappear.

De Bruyne, 33, was part of the Red Devils side that finished third at the World Cup in 2018, but they have failed to make the semifinal at a major tournament since.

“It’s too early to answer,” De Bruyne told reporters when asked whether the defeat to France could spell the end of his international career. “Let me process this loss. It’s a been a very long season. I need to rest my body. I will make my decision after the summer.”

De Bruyne, who made his Belgium debut in 2010 and has over 100 caps for his country, remains an integral part of coach Domenico Tedesco’s plans ahead of the World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada in 2026.

“He knows how important he is,” Tedesco said of the Manchester City midfielder’s comments at a news conference. “He doesn’t need my opinion about it because he knows. Immediately after the game, it’s difficult to ask these kind of questions to Kevin.”

Belgium sat deep against France but had chances on the break, with goalkeeper Mike Maignan making good saves from Romelu Lukaku and De Bruyne before Les Bleus clinched the win late.

“It is a pity,” De Bruyne added. “We had a plan and we executed that plan pretty well. We knew that with France’s qualities they would have more of the ball, but I think we defended well as a team and didn’t concede many chances apart from a few long shots.

“We had our moments, although there weren’t very many. But we could be dangerous. Our plan was good until their goal came, with the deflection, there is not a lot we can say about that. It’s unfortunate, so we have to accept it.”

Tedesco used De Bruyne in a deeper midfield role, pushing Yannick Carrasco, Jérémy Doku and Loïs Openda farther forward alongside Lukaku in an attempt to exploit the space behind France’s back line.

However, De Bruyne still got into attacking areas and had a great chance to win the game for Belgium just minutes before Vertonghen had the ninth own goal of the tournament.

“I tried to do everything I could,” De Bruyne continued. “I played in a more defensive position and did everything I could to help the team, although it is a shame that I could not finish my chance.

“This is not what we wanted, but although we were not one of the favourites, I think we let ourselves down in the [opening] match against Slovakia.”

Belgium advanced to the meeting with France despite losing that game to Slovakia, responding by beating Romania and drawing with Ukraine.

Tedesco rejected the idea they were not bold enough in the tournament, but said it was too soon to perform a deep analysis on how his side performed in Germany.

“I think against Slovakia, yes, we were brave, we pressed them high and created many opportunities,” he said. “I think against Romania as well and Ukraine at the beginning — but the longer these games go on, you have in the heads of the players that conceding one goal you are out.

“Tonight we played France, the chances were there. If you think that Lukaku will go home with no goals after these kind of games and also Doku with no goals or assists, for me it’s a pity and it’s unbelievable because they did well.

“But one hour after the final whistle and conceding a goal in the 85th minute, it’s really difficult to analyse now.”