Belgium faced Russia in St Petersburg in the first match of their 2020 Euro campaign.
Kevin de Bruyne is still recovering from the eye injury he received in the Champions League Final while Axel Witsel parted of the squad after rupturing his Achilles tendon in January.
Belgium, the clear favourites of this fixture (and the whole tournament), began on the front foot against a Russia who could not replicate the confidence they displayed in the 2018 World Cup.
Romelu Lukaku scored in the 10th minute, but he was in an offside position when the ball was crossed into the box, however, after VAR intervention, the goal stood because the Russian defender attempted to play the ball.
Lukaku dedicated his goal to his Inter Millan teammate, Christian Eriksen.
A head collision between Belgium’s Timothy Castagne and Russia’s Daler Kuzyayev led to both of them being forced off and replaced by Thomas Meunier and Denis Cheryshev respectively.
However, it was Meunier who had the biggest impact when he scored within several minutes of being substituted on. After Thorgan Hazard’s cross was saved by the goalkeeper, the ball was redirected towards Meunier who scored comfortably in the 34th minute to double Belgium’s lead.
The first half ended with Belgium dominating the game with the help of Russian sloppiness.
Russia had a good 15-minute period in the second half that ask questions of Belgium’s backline but it did not threaten Thibaut Courtois.
Eden Hazard came on for the last 20 minutes to replace Dries Mertens but did not have the impact many football fans desired.
After only 2 touches in the second half, Lukaku doubles his goal tally by outpacing Igor Diveev to slot the ball into the net and give Belgium the third goal of the night.
After a day that will be overshadowed by what happened in an earlier fixture, Belgium played professionally and comfortably to win all three points.
Source of Image: UEFA Euro 2020
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