Januzaj makes debut, Lukaku scores hat-trick in easy Belgium friendly
Romelu Lukaku scored a hat-trick as World Cup dark horses Belgium eased to a 5-1 win over minnows Luxembourg in the first of three pre-finals friendlies they will play before travelling to Brazil.
Lukaku, who had an excellent season on loan with Everton from Chelsea scoring 15 goals in the Premier League, was joined on the scoresheet by Tottenham Hotspur’s Nacer Chadli and Wolfsburg’s former Chelsea attacking midfielder Kevin de Bruyne.
The game was also notable for the first appearance in the Belgian colours by Adnan Januzaj, the Manchester United teenager who had been coveted by several other countries for whom he was eligible to play before he finally opted for the ‘Red Devils’ in late April.
Januzaj did not disappoint after he replaced playmaker Eden Hazard displaying some nice deft touches, though, he will face far sterner examinations come the finals in Brazil.
Belgian coach Marc Wilmots despite the weak opposition selected a first choice side, save goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who was rested following his side Atletico Madrid’s 4-1 Champions League final defeat by city rivals Real on Saturday.
Lukaku fired the Belgians into a third minute lead but a lapse of concentration allowed Aurelien Joachim to level 10 minutes later.
Lukaku, though, restored the one goal advantage in the 23rd minute and completed his hat-trick with a brilliant individual goal in the 53rd.
Lukaku gave way on the hour mark as Wilmots blooded another young debutant in Divock Origi, who plays in Ligue 1 for Lille, the club where Hazard made his name before his move to Chelsea.
Chadli added a fourth after being set up by De Bruyne, and the provider turned goalscorer in the dying seconds as he converted a penalty.
Belgium, who will also play Sweden away on June 1 and then Tunisia in Brussels on June 7, will be appearing in their first World Cup finals since 2002 where they have been drawn in Group H.
They begin their World Cup campaign proper against Algeria on June 17 before going on to play Russia (June 22) and South Korea (June 26).
Follow us on Twitter @SprtNationalUAE
Published: May 27, 2014 04:00 AM