Romelu Lukaku scores a brace to lead Belgium to its first victory
Belgium lived up to their status as pre-event favourites. In their first match on the group stage, they beat Russia three goals to none with a Romelu Lukaku brace and a Thomas Meunier goal. This is just the start for Belgium as they look to cement their status as title favourites.
Lukaku scored the first goal of the match in the 10th minute which some people thought to be an offside goal. The referee ruled that Andrei Semyonov touched the ball which led to Lukaku’s first goal. After the scary incident in Denmark vs Finland earlier in the day, Lukaku paid tribute to his Inter Milan teammate Christian Eriksen.
‘I cried a lot because I was scared, obviously’, the Belgian striker said. ‘I enjoyed the game, but for me, it was difficult to play because my mind was with Christian. You live strong moments together. I spent more time with him than with my family. My thoughts are with him, his girlfriend, his two kids and his family. I hope he is healthy and I dedicate this performance to him’.
A clinical Belgium performance
Lukaku followed the momentum as he scored another late in the 88th minute. Sandwiched between the two goals, Meunier scored off the bench which proved that the team made the right move to put him in.
This is a good win for Belgium because they didn’t have Kevin De Bruyne who is out due to injury. They also didn’t need Eden Hazard to play big minutes as he was only a sub. Belgium proved they can win against good teams without their best players. If they can get their stars back healthy, you can expect them to be one of the best teams.
While Russia tried to turn up the heat with fast attacks, Belgium’s defence was strong enough to stop their offence. Jan Vertonghen proved to be a wall as the centre-back since he had good tackles and saves.
Players to watch for the rest of the event for both teams
Lukaku will be the star across both teams. He already scored a brace which means he’s a frontrunner in the Golden Boot race. Fellow top striker Harry Kane was the winner of the award in the latest World Cup but it looks like Lukaku can usurp Kane from his throne.
You can expect Russia's star name Aleksandr Golovin to be one of the best players in the country. They are in a tough group with the likes of Finland, Denmark and Belgium. If Golovin can perform at his best level, Russia can keep up in the competition.
The European Championships will be one of the most fun events since top teams like Belgium will still perform at the highest level.
Words: Cholo Martin