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Christian Eriksen’s shock collapse has sent shock waves around the footballing community. We are all relieved that the Denmark international is safe from any immediate danger. We wish him a safe recovery. On that note, we head into the report of the second fixture of Group B, between Belgium and Russia.

Just like FootTheBall predicted, Belgium was the clear winner in this fixture. Russia did not make a shout in the match and Belgium had a comfortable victory. The win takes Belgium top of Group B, ahead of Finland by goal difference.



The game kicked off in style with a Romelu Lukaku goal in the tenth minute. With just his first shot in the tournament, Inter Milan’s star forward slotted in from close range to give Belgium the lead. Lukaku was initially in an offside position, but a poor defensive touch favoured the forward, who had an easy time beating the goalkeeper.



In the 27th minute, a clash of heads forced Kuzyaev and Castagne off the field. Russia’s Cheryshev took the field as the replacement while Thomas Meunier was the Belgian deputy. Just minutes later, Thorgan Hazard whipped in a beauty from the left flank and Shunin could only parry it away. The ball fell perfectly for Meunier though and he had an easy time making it 2-0.



Although Russia had the chances to score a goal in the opening half, their overall play did not suggest the same. Belgium controlled the ball, played nearly twice as many passes and had a flurry of chances. They were dominant and had a clear motive. It was a deserved lead and the Russians had much work to do in the second half if they were to overturn the deficit.


Russia made their third change of the game by bringing on Igor Diveev instead of Barinov. This subsequently warranted a change in the system and the effects were visible in the second half. The Russian team came into the half with an overwhelming surge of confidence. They were determined to give their fans a solid performance and the initial stages of the second half suggested the same.



A high press deployed by Russia proved to be a real menace for Belgium. Sloppy passes in the middle of the park were punished with quick counterattacks. The Russians looked keen on finding an equaliser but were unable to find the right passes in the final third. However, they did manage to mitigate the Belgium attack and kept the forwards quiet for a large part of the half.

Yet, despite all their efforts, Russia did not find the net. Belgium thus sealed the game in the 88th minute. A driving run in midfield by Meunier released Lukaku who kept his cool once he made it into the box. A composed finish around the keeper summed up Lukaku’s performance of the night. The game ended Belgium 3-0 Russia.

Let’s take a look at our key takeaways from the match.


Belgium’s Golden Generation were on the top of their game even without the mazing runs of Eden Hazard and the exemplary vision of Kevin de Bruyne. As predicted, KDB did not make the squad as the result of the facial injury he suffered in the finals of the Champions League. Eden Hazard’s ongoing fitness issue was the reason he was dropped to the bench. Yet, without both these World Class talents, Belgium had a rather comfortable game.



Belgium’s Golden Generation proved why they deserved to be the number one team in the world. Roberto Martinez’s system was not compromised even though their influential men were missing. The replacements proved their mettle with an impressive performance. This begs the question; how good will Belgium be once these men return to full fitness?


Belgium had solid performances all across the field. Apart from a few sloppy passes in midfield, they had no real issues. All three defenders had a decent day, chipping in crucial tackles and clearances when needed. Tielemans was solid in the centre of the half, regaining the ball when needed and springing attacks when the opportunity arises.



Thorgan Hazard on the left and Thomas Meunier on the right was particularly commendable. Hazard had over a hundred touches in the game and boasted an insane pass accuracy of 93 per cent. Meunier was instrumental in the game as well. A goal and an assist made him one of the most influential players in the team. This performance should be a marker for what is to come.


Romelu Lukaku was a beast on the pitch. A brace from the striker was nothing short of what was expected. He is in the time of his life and the two goals today should give him confidence in the upcoming fixtures as well.

He dedicated his goal and performance to his teammate Eriksen, proving that he is class, both on and off the pitch. Belgium’s man of the moment did what he does best. His twentieth goal in just fifteen competitive matches for Belgium. Will the big man end up being the top scorer of the tournament?

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