Lukaku’s goals and De Bruyne’s majesty warm Belgium up for Euro 2024 campaign

By Samindra Kunti in Brussels

June 9 – Romelu Lukaku’s two goals and a Leandro Trossard strike led Belgium to a modest 3-0 victory against Luxembourg to wrap preparations for Euro 2024. Thomas Meunier limped off injured. 

In their final warmup friendly before the start of the European championship finals at the end of next week, Belgium, playing in their Tintin-inspired outfit, were intent on pleasing their home fans and the returning Kevin De Bruyne – cheered on by the fans whenever he took a corner and as he orchestrated the play in behind Lukaku. Luxembourg were a gentle opponent, but their massed defending frustrated the hosts, who squandered several opportunities in the first half, including close-range misses from André Onana and substitute Maxim De Cuyper.

The Brugge defender had come on to replace the injured Meunier, causing more concern for manager Domenico Tedesco, who has not yet settled on his preferred backline. Meunier will require an MRI scan and could miss out on Euro 2024.

The inevitable Lukaku, Belgium’s all-time top scorer, opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 42nd minute.

At half-time, Tedesco substituted Axel Witsel, who had come in for a lot of criticism over his slow legs in a 2-0 win against Montenegro. Soon, Belgium, who dominated but hardly impressed, had a second goal on the scoreboard, Lukaku tapping in an assist from the industrious Jeremy Doku at the far post in the 57th minute. Seconds later, the striker nearly completed his hat-trick.

As Tedesco made several substitutions, Trossard completed Belgium’s routine 3-0 win with a fine strike from inside the box. It once again became clear that Belgium will rely heavily on De Bruyne, Doku and Lukaku to hurt opponents.

The Belgians kick off their campaign in Germany against Slovakia in Frankfurt on Monday, June 17. They will also face Romania and Ukraine in Group E. At Euro 2020, Belgium crashed out in the last eight against eventual champions Italy.

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