Belgium vs Russia Summary: 06/12/2021
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Belgium got off to a flyer in their opening game in EURO 2020 as they cruised to a 3-0 win over Russia thanks to two goals from Romelu Lukaku and one from Thomas Meunier.
The number one side in the world looked sharp from the very first whistle and they wasted little time in breaking the deadlock as star striker Lukaku pounced on a defensive mistake as the Russia defence failed to make a routine clearance, and the Inter hitman fired home after just ten minutes.
As Russia tried to get a foothold in the game, the lack of intensity in their play proved costly and enabled Roberto Martinez’s men to grab a second on 34 minutes. After coming off the bench to replace the injured Timothy Castagne, Thomas Meunier was on hand to slot home after Russian goalkeeper Anton Shunin failed to hold a cross.
Even at such an early stage, the contest was as good as over with Russia looking deflated and Belgium the far superior side. The steely focus from Roberto Martinez’s men was impressive and all the more so due to the emotions surrounding the match with so many of their players having close ties to Denmark’s Christian Eriksen who suffered the medical emergency earlier in the day.
After his first goal, Romelu Lukaku paid tribute to his Inter Milan team-mate by shouting ‘Chris, Chris, I love you’ into the television cameras and the striker was clearly in an inspired mood.
The second half was something of a procession with the Red Devils in full control of the game and play became a little disjointed with more substitutions. They added a late third as Meunier turned provider for that man Lukaku to seal the win for Martinez’s side.
It was a professional performance by Belgium but they arguably lacked that midfield orchestrator without the injured Kevin De Bruyne. They still had more than enough quality to overcome this poor Russian side and this win will give them a big boost in confidence.
With their next match against Denmark on Thursday, Belgium have to be favoured to follow this victory with another next time out given the performance levels here and the fact there is still room for improvement.