Euro 2024: after an inaugural defeat, Belgium revives by beating Romania on the second day

Euro 2024: after an inaugural defeat, Belgium revives by beating Romania on the second day

Kevin De Bruyne a mis la Belgique à l’abri à dix minutes de la fin de la rencontre. MAXPPP – RONALD WITTEK

The Belgium team won against Romania (2-0), Saturday June 22 in Cologne during the second day of Euro 2024, and is recovering after its inaugural defeat against Slovakia.

With four teams on three points, this group E is the most uncertain of all. But the goal differences still place the Romanians, winners of Ukraine 3-0 on the first day, in the lead, followed by the Belgians, the Slovaks then the Ukrainians. The last day, Wednesday (6 p.m.), with Slovakia-Romania in Frankfurt and Belgium-Ukraine in Stuttgart promises to be thrilling.

The Red Devils, who would have been on the verge of elimination in the event of another setback after their opening defeat against the Slovaks (1-0), started the match with a bang by opening the scoring after 73 seconds of play. On the left wing, Jérémy Doku found Romelu Lukaku with his back to goal and the latter's cut-back was taken without control by Youri Tielemans to cross a forest of legs and deceive Florin Nita (1-0, 2nd).

This third fastest goal in the history of the Euro put an end to more than 300 minutes of offensive sterility in the final phase for the Belgians. The Aston Villa player, who was only a substitute against Slovakia, returning from an adductor injury, was also brilliant in a first half that was totally under control.

Lukaku, the cursed

But despite almost constant domination, we had to wait for a long clearance from Koen Casteels unintentionally extended by a Romanian defender with a header to see Kevin de Bruyne, with a furious tackle, really free his team, ten minutes from time. term (2-0, 80th). Already deprived of two goals by VAR against Slovakia, Romelu Lukaku had to be disappointed again shortly after the hour mark due to an offside of a phalanx and a half on a opening "KDB" (63e).

He remains for the moment, with zero goals validated, the anti-hero of this Euro. If the accounting operation is good, coach Domenico Tedesco and his staff will undoubtedly have some small reservations about their team's performance, especially in front of goal.

The match was studded with chances for the Belgians. Dodi Lukébakio (18th), Jan Vertonghen (19th), Jérémy Doku (31st, 63rd), De Bruyne (52nd, 55th) or Lukaku (66th, 89th) all wasted great opportunities either by lack of precision or by finding Nita on their route.

A defense not imperial

Such a waste, which cost them dearly against the Slovaks, will not be able to last in the knockout phase if they want to do better than their quarter-finalist status of the last two editions .

Similarly, if the defense found its pillar Jan Vertonghen, author of an excellent return on Andrei Ratiu (59th) and his left side Arthur Theate, it was sometimes pushed in its last entrenchments not the Romanians. Casteels, promoted to the starting position after the sidelining of Thibaut Courtois by Tedesco, justified the confidence of the Italian-German with a beautiful flight on a header from Radu Dragusin (5th) or by intervening in front of Dennis Man (68th).

Valentin Mihaila, who started from the central circle, but whose shot flew away (48th) and an intervention by Timothy Castagne on his line to avoid a reduction in the score (85th) also made send shivers down the spines of Red Devils supporters. But their team at least now has its destiny in its hands.

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