“Chris Chris, I love you.” This was Romelu Lukaku’s statement ventilating his support to Christian Eriksen at the time when he netted the opening goal 10 minutes into the contest between Belgium and Russia.
Eriksen, who earlier collapsed on the pitch today is a teammate with Lukaku at Inter Milan. With the striker unable to conceal his emotions regarding Eriksen’s health condition, he deemed it fit to pay tribute to his club player.
No sooner had the refereee blew the whistle that Belgium began to probe. Despite the absence of attacking maestros Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Belgium were the forerunner. The pair of two sensations Thorgan Hazard and Dries Mertens dictating proceedings at the center half out passed Russia’s fragmented midfield to month pressure on the defensive wall early into the game.
But their press paid off with 10 minutes gone in the game when Dries Mertens delivered a ball into the area from the right wing. Lukaku who mistimed his run ran into an offside position only for him to be played active by Andrei Semenov after the defender dithered with clearing the ball in the 18 yard box. Lukaku employing his finesse pounced on the loose ball to slot home the opening goal for Belgium at Krestovsky stadium, Russia.
As time wore on, it seems the early goal was just the genesis of Russia’s problem and a prelude to what Belgium have to offer. Stanislav Cherchesov’s side showed penchant for self harm. They failed to amend their flaws that resulted in the first goal and as such were punished for their defiant behaviour. Anton Shunnin parrying unconvincinly with a cross from Thorgan Hazard left the goalkeeper to render his defense vulnerable and with Thomas Munier being at the right place, at the right time converted the rebound to double the tally 6 minutes after Timothy Castagne’s head injury prompted the introduction of Thomas Munier.
Russia looked more lively in the second half with Cheryshev forcing a smart save from Thibaut Courtois in the 54th minute — minutes after a dangerous ball into the box had forced Real Madrid goalkeeper to punch the ball well wide, though ruled for offside.
That would not suffice to subdue the number 1 ranked team in the world from asking question. With time ebbing away, Thomas Munier surged forward and played a sublime through ball to release Romelu Lukaku whose calm finish earned him his second of the night and his 61st goal for Belgium.
Dominance at it very best and the third goal certainly embellished Belgium’s amazing performance today as they secured a comfortable 3-0 win against Russia to seat at the summit of Group B in the Euro 2020 competition.