One of the enduring images from England’s 2-1 World Cup semifinal loss to Croatia was the sight of Kieran Trippier being helped off the pitch after sustaining an injury in the second half. Trips broke down in tears when he realized what being injured might mean both for his country and for himself in this competition.
The bad news continues in the aftermath of Wednesday’s loss — Sky Sports is reporting that Trippier is one of a trio of Three Lions that are doubts for Saturday’s third place match against Belgium, along with Kyle Walker and Jordan Henderson.
Trippier has been immense for England at this tournament — going into the Croatia match he had created 12 chances for the Three Lions, putting him in contention with Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne and Brazil’s Neymar. He capped his final World Cup match with a 25 yard free kick goal to put England up 1-0 in the fifth minute.
England manager Gareth Southgate had played to Kieran’s strengths, putting him in as an attacking wing back ahead of a back three. That position had allowed him to do what he does best — push forward with the ball and deliver crosses from the flanks — while ameliorating the lack of pace that can at times get him into trouble. If Trippier can’t go, Southgate might give a chance to young Liverpool right back Trent Alexander-Arnold, who also started in England’s last match against Belgium in the group stages.
All three players plan to stay in Russia through Saturday, opting to keep the team together for their final match. There has not been any comment about the severity of Trippier’s groin injury — it certainly didn’t look great on the pitch, but it’s unknown whether it will have any impact on Trippier’s return to Tottenham Hotspur for preseason training in a few weeks.