International friendlies

Lukaku double helps Belgium beat Saudi Arabia

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Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne celebrates scoring their fourth goal with Romelu Lukaku

Image credit: Reuters

27/03/2018 at 21:02 | Updated 27/03/2018 at 21:55

Romelu Lukaku scored twice to help Belgium to a 4-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in a friendly on Tuesday as coach Roberto Martinez sought to settle the final few places up for grabs in his World Cup squad.

Belgium dominated possession throughout and pierced the Saudi defence twice in each half.

Manchester United striker Lukaku found the bottom corner in the 13th minute after Kevin De Bruyne had seized on a loose Saudi pass.


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Eden Hazard then powered through and deftly flicked the ball to Lukaku, who slid it into the same left corner in the 39th minute to double the lead.

Belgium scored twice in little more than a minute in the second half, substitute Michy Batshuayi showing neat footwork to fire in from close range before De Bruyne played a one-two with Lukaku and blasted in from further out.

Belgium coach Martinez said the match would determine his World Cup squad selection in May and Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan was one of those given a chance to make the final cut.

Belgium begin their World Cup campaign against Panama on June 18 and will also face England and Tunisia in Group G.

Saudi Arabia, with the longest odds for the tournament, showed some spark in the first half. Fahad Al-Muwallad forced Belgium keeper Simon Mignolet to make a good save early on and had a decent claim for a penalty in the second half.

They have some work to do, however, to tighten up their defence and sharpen their passing before they open their World Cup against hosts Russia on June 14 with Group A fixtures against Uruguay and Egypt to follow.

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