Romelu Lukaku Puts on a Magnificent Display as He Scores 4 Goals in Belgium’s 5-0 Win Over Azerbaijan
While you can doubt Romelu Lukaku’s antics off the pitch and some of his comical misses on the field, he is, without a doubt, one of the most complete strikers in modern football. Today, in the final round of Euro 2024 qualifying games, Romelu Lukaku put on a phenomenal display of finishing as he scored four goals in 20 first-half minutes and helped cruised Belgium to an emphatic 5-0 victory over 10-man Azerbaijan in their Group F qualifier in blustery Brussels. Before the match, Belgium had already booked their place at next year’s Euro 2024 tournament, and this win just marked the icing on the cake as they finished first ahead of second place Austria by 1 point.
Romelu Lukaku Breaks European Championship Qualifying Record
The game between Belgium and Azerbaijan started as everyone predicted, with Belgium dictating play from the get-go. The Red Devils did not have to wait long for their opener as Romelu Lukaku headed in an easy opener from the in-form citizen Jérémy Doku. The match edge in Belgium’s favour even more when Eddy Pascual received his marching orders after just 24 minutes for two bookable fouls.
With the man-up advantage, Romelu Lukaku immediately capitalised on the space left behind as he slid a right-footed shot from Timothy Castagne’s cross into the bottom left corner for his second. The Belgium forward then sealed his hat trick three minutes later with a simple header delivered by Wout Faes. However, the central striker was still hungry for more as he scored his fourth in a 20-minute rout with another right-footed finish, assisted by Orel Mangala. Eventually, Domenico Tedesco substituted Romelu Lukaku at half-time as the Belgian relaxed on the sidelines with his phone out and leg up.
Why would he not be? He has now scored 83 goals in 113 appearances for Belgium and broken the record for a European Championship qualifying campaign with 14 goals, beating the mark of 13 set by Northern Ireland’s David Healy in 2008 and equalled by Poland’s Robert Lewandowski in 2016. Moreover, he is four goals ahead of global superstars Cristiano Ronaldo (10) and France’s Kylian Mbappé (9) in the current Euro qualifiers.
With Romelu Lukaku’s departure and the match already settled, the game played out at turtle’s pace before Arsenal winger Leandro Trossard scored a late fifth goal as Belgium ended their qualifying campaign undefeated with six wins out of eight.
Romelu Lukaku Opens Up on Horrific Summer Transfer Ordeal
After his lacklustre performance at the 2022 World Cup and the UEFA Champions Final against Manchester City, Romelu Lukaku faced harsh criticism for his performance on the pitch and his attitude off the field. For example, after his loan spell ended with Inter, the Belgian refused to commit to the Black and Blues. The situation ballooned when Lautaro Martinez expressed his disappointment with Lukaku for ghosting him and his attitude. “I was disappointed. It is the truth. I also tried to call him in those days of chaos, but he never answered me, the same he did with my other companions.”
As the move to Juventus and Inter were both blocked out and with Chelsea’s dismissal of allowing the Belgian back after his outburst about the club, Romelu Lukaku was left clubless with the beginning of the season nearing. However, Jose Mourinho threw the striker a lifeline as Roma eventually signed him on loan to Roma, and he has been delivering the favour for his new club.
In a recent interview with Romelu Lukaku during international duty, the forward opened up on his summer transfer ordeal. “If I really said how it went last summer, everyone would be shocked as there were moments I could explode. Five years ago, I probably would have done that too. Now, I have concentrated on what I can do best – playing football.”
Regarding his move to Roma, Lukaku replied: “As soon as the negotiations started, I became well-informed about the club and the supporters. I must also thank Radja Nainggolan, former Roma and Belgium player, who gave me plenty of information. I spent a lot of time talking to Jose Mourinho. The rest is work. I worked very hard alone this summer to the point of surprising the Roma staff. I was in a positive mindset as I hadn’t played at my true level for two years, and I had to do my best to be back. I was lucky to count on great teammates and staff who helped me.”
Can Belgium Pose a Threat at Euro 2024?
Therefore, with a rejuvenated Romelu Lukaku at the forefront and informed Leandro Trossard and Jérémy Doku flanking him, how far can Belgium go in Euro 2024? For starters, Belgium fans should keep their expectations reasonable as this team is unlike the Golden Generation with players such as Prime Hazard, De Bruyne, Lukaku and Kompany.
Furthermore, De Bryune is currently suffering a long-term injury, and who knows what form he will be in after recovering? Thus, we think achieving the top 8 is a realistic goal for this new Belgium team and will provide good exposure to international experiences for the upcoming members of the Red Devils.
Do you agree with our opinion? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. In the meantime, enjoy high-definition highlights of Romelu Lukaku’s performance with highlights provided by AsiaSport.