If Romelu Lukaku and his assistant Jérémy Doku are top, then this Belgium will be a steamroller. The Red Devils won 5-0 against Azerbaijan and will therefore go to the European Championship as the seed. The Big Rom phenomenon was at the gun no fewer than four times, but the entire match was a fun spectacle. Cirque de Soleil in Brussels.
Here we are now. Entertain us. The match against Azerbaijan could have been a nightmare. Taking first place in our European Championship qualifying group seemed nice, but nothing more than that. The pitch in the King Baudouin Stadium was swampy and our internationals have a busy schedule. Fortunately, the Red Devils were very keen on it. Due to the early start time, there were many families with children in the King Baudouin Stadium, which was filled with 30,276 people, and they were given an evening full of great fun.
Fourth hat trick
This was Cirque de Soleil in Brussels and Romelu Lukaku was the great director. What a great spectacle that was before halftime. We will talk more about our top scorer later, but let’s start with the basic team. National coach Domenico Tedesco seems to be gradually shaping his typical team for the European Championship. The rearguard with Wout Faes seems a certainty and as wing attacker Johan Bakayoko moves up in the ranking. This was also done centrally by Aster Vranckx, who was preferred to Youri Tielemans, who was good against Serbia.
But we bore you with these tactical considerations. Showtime. The spotlight in the King Baudouin Stadium now shines first on Jérémy Doku. The (young) crowd already starts waving and oohing when the wing attacker even slightly touches the ball. Justifiably. If this was Cirque de Soleil then Doku was the fire breather who set the stadium on fire. He moved past his opponents again as if they were not there. Misery for the Azeris.
Yet there was one man in Brussels who made jaws drop even more. The powerhouse, the stud Romelu Lukaku. When Doku made a fine cross for the first time, Big Rom nodded his first goal of the evening against the ropes. Our new royal couple immediately fell into each other’s arms.
If these two are into it and Kevin De Bruyne will soon be added, Belgium can actually beat anyone. What weapons we have.
The Azeris quickly realized this. Defender Eddy – the visitor with the nicest name – had already been hanging on Doku, but then also made a strong tackle on Lukaku. Eddy anyway. He was allowed to take a shower. It gave our national team even more room to play and Big Rom suddenly seemed like a kid in a candy store. He fired in a nice attack via Doku and Castagne with the right, he also bundled in a measured assist from Wout Faes and when Orel Mangala sent him away he almost blasted his fourth of the evening through the net. So much craving.
It made for a memorable evening. Romelu Lukaku not only scored his fourth hat-trick for the national team in 30 minutes, it was also the case of Marc Van Der Linden in 1989 and (unofficially) Josip Weber in 1994 that a Belgian international scored at least 4 times in one international match. Big Rom is a phenomenon, but it was also noticeable how much he thanked his teammates for the work done. Lukaku is really the great leader.
With 14 goals, Romelu Lukaku is the top scorer in this European Championship qualifying campaign and he still trumps Cristiano Ronaldo. He has also surpassed Robert Lewandowski in the all-time top scorer rankings for the national teams and is hot on the heels of the legendary Ferenc Puskas. Punishment.
Big Rom changed
At halftime the score was actually 5-0 when Castagne kicked in a rebound, but the Hungarian ref and VAR thought: It is not Lukaku who scores: we disallow the goal. It was also Big Rom who was slightly offside. Shame.
If we had been Romelu Lukaku, we would have preferred to stay on the field in the second half. Who knows, maybe a fifth, sixth or seventh goal would follow… Only Lukaku is very generous. The 10/10 in the newspaper was in and the standing ovation was already a fact at half time. It was Loïs Openda who was allowed to come in, but no matter how well he does at Red Bull Leipzig… He is not yet Romelu Lukaku. After the break, Belgium slowed down a bit.
The public didn’t care. On the contrary. All the lights on the smartphone turned on and at times Doku and Trossard provided some fun promotions. In the absolute final, Leandro put the 5-0 on the board on a pass from Jérémy. Lukaku saw on the sidelines that it was good.
Cirque de Soleil was then allowed to dismantle its tents to loud applause. The Belgians won their qualifying group and are therefore the seed at the European Championship draw on December 2 in Hamburg. In this way, we avoid countries such as France, Germany and England in the groups at Euro 2024. But hey, if Romelu Lukaku and Jérémy Doku are in such good shape, every country will also be afraid of Belgium.