Sport 3 things we learned from Belgium v. Russia
Partiers protest Belgium's virus rules medics demand support
BRUSSELS (AP) — Thousands of protesters angry at pandemic-related restrictions marched to European Union headquarters in Brussels on Saturday and had minor tussles with police over their unauthorized gathering. The crowd initially assembled in a Brussels park for a party designed to flout Belgium’s COVID-19 rules and a related gathering calling for Europeans to claim back their freedom. Participants then marched to the district of the Belgian capital that houses key EU buildings.
It was all too easy to predict that Romelu Lukaku would steal the show as Belgium kicked off its EURO 2020 quest as one of a handful of favorites to win the tournament, but that’s exactly what happened in his side’s 3-0 victory at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg on Saturday.
Lukaku scored twice to go with a single tally from Thomas Meunier, as Belgium joined Finland as winners on the opening day of play in Group B.
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Three things we learned: Belgium – Russia
1. Belgium start fast, furiously: With lofty expectations, perhaps even as the favorites, placed upon them, Belgium required nothing short of a roaring start to serve as a launching pad for a deep run at EURO 2020. Two goals inside the opening 35 minutes went a long way toward putting Roberto Martinez’s side at ease, thus allowing them to play their own game from a position of power. As good as the Red Devils were on Saturday, there’s still another level (or two) for them to reach…
The Gray Areas in Defining Success for Belgium and Its Golden Generation
Belgium is into the latter years of its golden generation, with a World Cup bronze medal to its name. Does full validation only come in the form of a title? Romelu Lukaku has taken part in a Europa League final, an FA Cup final and the UEFA Super Cup during his 12-year pro career. The striker has a sense for what a final feels like. And the World Cup semi between Belgium and France three years ago did, in fact, feel like a final, he confirms.The bracket had brought together the top two teams in the tournament a step before the actual decider.
2. … when De Bruyne returns: Speaking of ascending higher and higher,in the coming days.
3. Tragic start on home soil for Russia: As good as Belgium looked, Russia looked that bad — maybe worse — as they failed to show up on home soil. Playing down two goals for an hour, Russia managed all of three attempted shots from the 14th minute onward.
Man of the Match: Romelu Lukaku – This man is a problem for opposing defense, and we’ve not seen the last of his goals at EURO 2020. Speaking after the game, Lukaku dedicated his performance to Inter Milan teammate Christian Eriksen.
Romelu Lukaku on formermidfielder Christian Eriksen: “It was difficult to play for me, my thoughts and my heart were with Christian Eriksen. I was afraid. I hope he is better. I think of him, his partner and his three children.”
Euro 2020 Power Rankings: France the Clear Favorite—but Then What?
The 2018 World Cup champion is the clear favorite on paper, but here's how the 23 sides trying to prevent another triumph for Les Bleus stack up. View the original article to see embedded media.Five years removed from Portugal's coronation just outside Paris, the next European Championship begins on Friday, and with it comes the quest for the 2016 host and runner-up to make amends and follow a World Cup title with another triumph—and for 23 other national sides to do something about it.
— Hotspur Related (@HotspurRelated)
Lukaku fired Belgium ahead in the 10th minute, thanks to one of the many complexities of the offside rule. When Dries Mertens floated a ball over the top, Lukaku was a full body’s width offside, yet the goal still stood after his left-footed finish beat Anton Shunin — because when Andrey Semenov botched his clearance attempt, he made a deliberate play on the ball.
Lukaku shouted into the field-side camera, “Chris, Chris, I love you,” directed towardduring Denmark – Finland. Eriksen was taken to the hospital where he is currently stable and responsive.
Lukaku sends Christian Eriksen a special message after scoring ❤️
Class act ????
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC)
Meunier came on as a concussion-forced substitute in the 27th minute, after Timothy Castagne was involved in a collision of heads which forced him off. Seven minutes later, Meunier was all by himself when the rebound from Thorgan Hazard’s shot was spilled by Shunin for an easy put-back.
With US-Russia relations at low point, Biden, Putin each bring a wariness to Geneva summit
When Joe Biden meets Vladimir Putin in Geneva the West's favorite geopolitical bogeyman is not likely to get the easy pass he got from Donald TrumpThree years ago this July, former President Donald Trump stood side by side with the Russian autocrat at a press conference in Finland's capital and blithely dismissed assessments from his own intelligence agencies, defense officials and American lawmakers about Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
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Two minutes from full-time, it was Lukaku who again bot behind the Russian defense and fired past Shunin to make it 3-0 and loudly announce his own arrival at EURO 2020.
Lukaku double ????
He's off to a hot start ????
— ESPN (@espn)
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3 things we learned from Finland v Russia .
Russia got back on track with a narrow win over Finland, but much did we actually learn about them?[ MORE: EURO 2020 hub ]