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.”
Some US allies near Russia are wary of Biden-Putin summit
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Central and Eastern European nations are anxious about the coming summit meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, wary of what they see as hostile intentions from the Kremlin. Some in the countries that once were part of the Soviet Union or the Moscow-led Warsaw Pact during the Cold War worry that Washington could scale down support for its allies in the region in a bid to secure a more stable and predictable relationship with Russia.
— 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.
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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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UEFA Euro 2020 odds, picks, predictions: European soccer expert reveals best bets for Belgium vs. Finland .
Martin Green has generated nearly $19,000 for $100 bettors since the 2017-18 season . He's having a great Euro 2020 as well, with his picks generating over $500 in profit for $100 bettors through Friday's action. Green has his finger on the pulse of the game all over the globe.Now, Green has taken an in-depth look at Belgium vs. Finland at Euro 2020 and locked in his best bets. You can head to SportsLine now to see his picks. Here are the betting lines and trends for Finland vs. Belgium:Finland vs. Belgium spread: Belgium -1.5Finland vs. Belgium over-under: 2.5 goalsFinland vs.