A double from Romelu Lukaku helped Belgium secure an opening win to kick off its Euro 2021 campaign against Russia on Saturday. The 3-0 victory provided a strong start for arguably the strongest squad in the competition.
The Inter Milan striker opened up the scoring for his side within 10 minutes of the start of the match. Dries Mertens sent a searching pass into the middle just outside of the box, which was then deflected by a Russian defender and landed right behind the No. 9 man. Lukaku then turned around and fired a low bouncing shot past the flat-footed Russian keeper with his left foot.
After the score, Lukaku then ran to a camera on the sideline to send a heartfelt message to his Inter teammate, Christian Eriksen, who collapsed during Denmark’s match against Finland earlier in the day. The striker said “Chris, Chris! I love you.”
Thomas Meunier then scored a poacher’s goal, being in the right place at the right time when Russian keeper Anton Shunin spilled Thorgan Hazard’s cross from the left. The ball found its way to Meunier, who simply had to avoid the man in goal to double his side’s lead.
Lukaku closed the door on the match in the 88th minute — though it’s not like the Russians were threatening much on the offensive end to begin with — when Meunier sent a leading pass down the middle for the striker to simply outpace Russia’s Igor Diveev to the ball and slot his shot home.
Belgium’s performance gives them sole possession of first place in their group because of goal difference. Their next match is against Denmark on Thursday, June 17.