June 18, 2018 / 2:31 PM / a month ago

Soccer: Boyata to replace injured Kompany for Belgium opener

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Dedryck Boyata will replace the injured Vincent Kompany at the heart of the Belgium defence for their Group G opener against Panama on Monday.

Soccer Football - World Cup - Belgium Arrival - Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow, Russia - June 13, 2018 Belgium's Dedryck Boyata during the arrival in Moscow REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva

With Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen injured, Boyata was chosen to start in a talent-packed side that includes Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku.

Panama, who are playing their first ever World Cup match, start with a 4-1-4-1 formation with 37-year old striker Blas Perez, who scored the goal that secured their qualification, leading the line up front.

England and Tunisia are also in Group G and play each other later on Monday.

Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Toby Davis

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