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Belgium keep Vincent Kompany in World Cup squad despite injury

Pinned as the dark horses of Brazil 2014, Belgium weren't quite ready, but can Eden Hazard and co mount a real challenge in Russia?

Belgium will keep Vincent Kompany on the 23-man squad for the World Cup even though it is likely to be later in the group stage before the defender is fit to play.

Coach Roberto Martinez told a news conference on Sunday he would not be making any changes to his squad.

"Vincent Kompany stays with us," Martinez said. "We made the decision this morning that we will remain ... for the FIFA World Cup.

"Kompany is medically and fine and mentally ready. He makes change to play in the group stage. He needs to be ready for that."

The Manchester City man suffered a groin injury in a friendly against Portugal earlier this month and Belgium added Laurent Ciman to their camp as a precaution.

Ciman was sent back to Brussels on Saturday to await final word on Kompany's status.

Martinez says there is a stronger chance now of Kompany now appearing in the group stage and that his experience is important to have around the squad.

Meanwhile, Martinez said he expected Panama to provide a tough test for Belgium.

"I expect a strong Panama, but you can't predict a game in a World Cup," Martinez said. "For Panama it's a golden opportunity. It will be their first game ever in a World Cup. We have to handle this. It's important we play a good game, because we want to grow in this tournament. There are no easy games in a World Cup.

"Details will make the difference, an easy win won't happen but if I look in the eyes of the players, everyone is ready.

"It's also going to be a mental game. We don't have to get frustrated if it's still 0-0 after a long time. I don't expect the game will be played after 60 minutes. Everyone knows this. We have two be fully focused and play a mature game."

ESPN FC's Belgium correspondent Sven Claes contributed to this report.

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