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Dries Mertens lucky to be unscathed after horror tackle

There's bad tackles, then there's this. How did the French defender stay on?

Michael Steele/Getty Images

Sunday saw a moment of terror for Napoli attacker Dries Mertens, yet another in an international football career that's seen quite a few of them. Remember, this is the same man who, just in November, was knocked out on the pitch and suffered a concussion so severe he couldn't move his legs for a full day and feared not being able to play again.

This incident wasn't quite that frightening, but Mertens is still incredibly lucky to have come away largely unscathed from it. Early in Belgium's friendly against France, Mertens was dribbling up the right flank of Belgium's attack, trying to pick out a pass to Christian Benteke of Eden Hazard. He started to run in to traffic a bit, and that's when this happened.

That's France left back Benoit Tremoulianis leaping in with both feet high and catching Mertens square on each knee. Not helping matters is Blaise Matuidi adding a little more momentum to Mertens' fall with that little shove, but Tremoulaine's tackle is the very definition of a horror tackle. How he was allowed to stay on the pitch after that is a mystery, and a shocking one at that. Mertens is very, very lucky that he didn't come away from that with a serious injury.

Mertens would play a full hour before being subbed out of the friendly, which Belgium ultimately won 4-3 after holding off a late comeback from France.