Belgium vs. Luxembourg: Score, Report and Post-Match Reaction

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Belgium vs. Luxembourg: Score, Report and Post-Match Reaction
Yves Logghe/Associated Press

Romelu Lukaku scored a hat-trick as Belgium began preparations for the FIFA World Cup with a 5-1 victory over Luxembourg on Monday at Cristal Arena in Genk, Belgium.

Lukaku, who spent last season in the Premier League on loan with Everton from Chelsea, scored in the third, 23rd and 54th minutes before making way for a substitute in the second half.

Nacer Chadli and Kevin De Bruyne added late goals as Belgium won decisively in the first of four preparation matches ahead of the World Cup, which begins next month on Brazil.

Aurelien Joachim scored the only goal for Luxembourg, who briefly tied the match at 1-1 in the first half.

Lukaku's goals will serve as a positive sign for Belgium, who earned a top seed for the upcoming World Cup. As the seeded team, Marc Wilmots' side will be expected to advance out of Group H, which also includes Algeria, Russia and South Korea.

One look at Wilmots' squad shows why the Red Devils are so fancied heading into the tournament.

In addition to Lukaku, Belgium's roster includes well-known stars like Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany and Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard.

Manchester United youngster Adnan Januzaj made his Belgium debut as a second-half substitute. Though likely not a starter in Brazil, Januzaj's presence should add to the team's strength in depth, as noted by journalist John Chapman:

Following Monday's match, Belgium will play official friendlies against Sweden (June 1) and Tunisia (June 7) before a closed-door game against the United States on June 12.

Belgium will open the World Cup against Algeria on June 17 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Luxembourg did not qualify for the World Cup, but will begin Euro 2016 qualification later this year.

The hosts started strongly and went ahead in only the third minute, Lukaku finishing well from Marouane Fellaini's pass. Luxembourg fought back and equalised 10 minutes later, as Joachim beat Sammy Bossut with a superb long-range strike.

Belgium retook the lead in the 23rd minute as Lukaku scored his second, taking advantage of a defensive mix-up with a close-range finish.

Half-time saw Belgium introduce Januzaj, Chadli, Steven Defour, Anthony Vanden Borre and Daniel Van Buyten as Wilmots shuffled his lineup. A third goal arrived in the 54th minute, with Lukaku once again finding the scoresheet.

Lukaku created the danger himself, cutting inside and dribbling past a pair of defenders before driving in his low shot at the near post for a 3-1 lead.

With Belgium firmly in control, Chadli made it 4-1 in the 71st minute with a near-post finish from De Bruyne's pass. De Bruyne then got on the scoresheet in stoppage time, converting a penalty coolly to apply the finishing touches on an impressive victory.

 

Post-Match Reaction

 

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