Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Belgium look to rebound against tricky Romania


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Cologne, June 21: Belgium faces Romania on Saturday after suffering the biggest shock of Euro 2024 so far when losing its opening Group E game against Slovakia. The No.3-ranked team in the world lost 1-0 to snap a 14-game unbeaten streak going into the tournament. Romania beat Ukraine 3-0 in its opening game to top the group.
Romania will advance to the round of 16 by beating Belgium. A draw is also likely to see it advance, with no team having failed to make the knockout round of the Euros with four points.
Belgium’s shock defeat likely brought back bad memories of the 2022 World Cup when it was eliminated at the group stage in Qatar, despite having gone into the tournament ranked No 2. in the world.
Romania’s win against Ukraine was its first at a Euros in 24 years.
Romelu Lukaku was the leading scorer in Euros qualifying with 14 goals – ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo (10), Kylian Mbappe (9) and Harry Kane (8). But he suffered a frustrating game against Slovakia when having two goals ruled out by VAR.
Nicolae Stanciu was outstanding in Romania’s win against Ukraine and scored one of the goals of the tournament with a long-range effort. He also nearly scored direct from a corner kick, which hit the bar.
Axel Witsel, Jan Vertonghen and Arthur Theate did not play against Slovakia, having been injury doubts for that game.
Lukaku is Belgium’s all-time leading scorer with 85 goals. His 14 goals in qualifying set a new record for the European Championship.Romania’s 3-0 win against Ukraine was its biggest ever at a Euros.The loss against Slovakia was Belgium’s first defeat under coach Domenico Tedesco, who took over after the last World Cup and has won 10 of his 15 games in charge.
Kickoff at 12:30 am (IST). (AP)


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