Belgium cruise to a 3-0 win over Russia in their opening game at the Euros.
After latching onto Dries Mertens’ delivery inside the box – played onside by a deflection off a Russian defender.
Semenov’s mistake left Lukaku in on goal just 10 minutes in and he slotted in before dedicating it to his Inter team-mate Christian Eriksen down the camera, who collapsed in Denmark’s game earlier today.
The same goes for Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld who have spent most of their careers playing alongside Eriksen at Ajax and Tottenham.
As the world anxiously waited for news on Eriksen, just imagine how the three Belgians were feeling as they tried to prepare for their country’s first game.
A year’s delay for Euro 2020, months of build-up, weeks of preparation and suddenly they were in turmoil as the horrific events unfolded in Copenhagen.
Mercifully, more positive news emerged on Eriksen’s condition but it was a horrible situation for his friends in the Belgium camp. Vertonghen still looked in a state of shock in the tunnel before kick-off.
‘I had a lot of tears before the game,’ admitted Lukaku. ‘It was difficult to focus. Other players were affected too.
‘I’m happy with the victory, but my thoughts are with Christian. I’m going to contact him. I read that he’s out of danger. I hope he’ll be in good health soon.’
As ever at times like this when events on the football field veer towards tragedy and a man’s life hangs in the balance, everything else pales into insignificance.
Certainly, Martinez and his players will be relieved to get this game out of the way.
Meunier then capitalised on Shunin’s mistake to make it 2-0 at the break. Lukaku then rounded it off with his second of the game late on, firing past Shunin to secure the points.
That win takes Belgium to the top of Group B, above Finland on goal difference, after the first group games. Their next match is against Denmark on Thursday.
As for Russia, they’re bottom of the group and Cherchesov will need them to bounce back quickly as they face Finland on Wednesday.