06 Jun Belgium vs. Croatia – Football Match Report – June 6, 2021
BRUSSELS, June 6 (Reuters) – Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku underlined his standing as one of many world’s high strikers along with his 60th worldwide purpose to safe a 1-Zero win over Croatia of their Euro 2020 warm-up on Sunday.
Lukaku struck from a goalmouth scramble within the 38th minute to win the match for the top-ranked Belgians, who will begin the Euros in assured temper after a convincing efficiency.
They shrugged off a vibrant begin from Croatia to get pleasure from a snug victory, which could have had a extra commanding scoreline had they taken all of their probabilities, as they confirmed their standing as one the Euro 2020 favourites.
The purpose got here when fellow European Championship contenders Croatia did not clear a nook and Lukaku was first to swivel and hook the ball dwelling after Jason Denayer laid it on for him.
Lukaku had crashed a robust strike in opposition to the crossbar seven minutes earlier as he shrugged off three markers to show and fireplace goalwards. Yannick Carrasco was first to the rebound however despatched his header in opposition to the bar too.
Lukaku ought to have had a second purpose three minutes from the top however Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic made a goal-line cease at point-blank vary to maintain out his highly effective header.
Carrasco and Nacer Chadli blazed good probabilities large whereas Croatia’s greatest alternative fell to substitute Josip Brekalo in stoppage time however he was denied by keeper Thibaut Courtois.
“I did what I needed to do for the team,” mentioned Lukaku after the match.
“This consequence offers us an ideal feeling. Now it is only a matter of getting a bit sharper and getting the opposite gamers 100% prepared,” he added, with captain Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Axel Witsel all battling for health.
“Then loads is feasible.”
Hazard made his first look for Belgium since November 2019 as an alternative to the final eight minutes as he searches for health after an injury-plagued season. It elevated his probabilities of beginning Saturday’s Group B match in opposition to Russia in St Petersburg.
But there may be nonetheless doubt over De Bruyne, who is simply as a consequence of be a part of up with the squad on Monday and suffered a double facial fracture within the Champions League remaining simply over every week in the past.
Witsel is simply set to play within the knockout phases after Achilles surgical procedure at first of the yr.
Croatia, runners-up on the World Cup three years in the past, begin their Group D marketing campaign in opposition to England at Wembley subsequent Sunday. (Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape City; Modifying by Ken Ferris and Toby Davis)