Romelu Lukaku Scores, Belgium Cruise Past Kazakhstan in Euro 2020 Qualifier

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJune 8, 2019

Belgium's Dries Mertens (L) celebrates with Belgium's midfielder Axel Witsel after scoring a goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualification football match between Belgium and Kazakhstan at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on June 8, 2019. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)
JOHN THYS/Getty Images

Belgium continued their perfect start to Euro 2020 qualifying on Saturday, beating Kazakhstan 3-0 to make it three wins out of three tries. Dries Mertens, Timothy Castagne and Romelu Lukaku got the goals.

The hosts were up by two goals inside of 15 minutes, as Mertens and Castagne punished some poor defending. Lukaku got his goal early in the second half.

The Red Devils are the clear favourites in Group I, which also includes Russia, Scotland, San Marino and Cyprus.

Before kick-off, new Real Madrid star Eden Hazard celebrated a special milestone, as he got his 100th cap:

Belgian Red Devils @BelRedDevils

1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ caps = 🎩 Congrats @hazardeden10 👏👊🏾 #BELKAZ #COMEONBELGIUM 🇧🇪 https://t.co/UXUl8wjqCA

The Red Devils were determined to honour the occasion and came out firing, with Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne testing goalkeeper Dmytro Nepogodov early. The Group I favourites ran all over the visitors, and the opening goal arrived after just 11 minutes.

Hazard found Mertens in a dangerous position inside the box, and his effort took a slight deflection before beating the goalkeeper.

The Napoli man has been in superb form of late:

bet365 @bet365

Dries Mertens' last eight games: Assist Goal Goal Goal Goal Assist Goal Goal Unreal form. 🔥 https://t.co/5FOGokkCDB

He turned provider just three minutes later, picking out Castagne with a great cross to hand the Atalanta man his first international goal.

With two goals under their belt, the Belgians decided to take their foot off the gas. Lukaku had two great looks on goal to add to the tally, but goalkeeper Nepogodov stood his ground. De Bruyne also went close, but his angled shot just missed the target.

The half-time break allowed the Red Devils to recharge their batteries, however, and just five minutes into the second half, they struck again.

This time it was Lukaku, who added to his impressive collection for the national team:

bet365 @bet365

Romelu Lukaku has now scored 46 goals for Belgium. That's more than: - Alan Shearer for England - Rivaldo for Brazil - Raúl for Spain - Alessandro Del Piero for Italy - Sergio Agüero for Argentina - David Trezeguet for France - Dennis Bergkamp for Holland https://t.co/7OYY9hcVe0

Nepogodov produced an outstanding save to deny Thorgan Hazard, and Lukaku went for personal glory, rather than hand Castagne what would have been a certain goal. It didn't matter much, however, as the host cruised to the finish line, and the home fans created a festive atmosphere.

Hazard almost crowned his 100th cap with a goal of his own, but Nepogodov would not yield for a fourth time.


What's Next?

Belgium will host Scotland on Tuesday, while Kazakhstan host San Marino.