Lukaku scores a hat-trick

Romelu Lukaku scored all three goals in Belgium’s 3-0 win over Sweden in Group F qualifying for Euro 2024 on March 24.

Lukaku scored his first goal with a great header after 35 minutes. The Inter Milan striker picked the exact spot between the Victor Lindelof – Hjalmar Ekdal center-back pair, then headed from six yards after Dodi Lukebakio’s right cross.
Belgium continued to cut into Sweden’s defensive weakness in the second half. In the 49th minute, Lukebakio once again crossed into the penalty area, letting Lukaku cushion the ball from close to the goal line to make it 2-0.

In place of Lukebakio from the 61st minute, Johan Bakayoko also played well on the right. 21 minutes after entering the field, the striker crossed for Lukaku to cushion the ball to complete his hat-trick.

In the match on the evening of March 24 in the Euro 2024 qualifying round, Belgium was not too overwhelming. The visitors only had 53% possession and eight shots, slightly ahead of Sweden’s 47% and six shots. Lukaku’s three one-touch shots are the biggest difference between the two teams.

The win over Sweden was the perfect start for Belgium in qualifying for Euro 2024. The two teams are in Group F with Austria, Estonia and Azerbaijan. The top two teams in each group will qualify for the final round in Germany next year.

The victory over Sweden is Belgium’s first match after the 2022 World Cup. At this tournament, Belgium stopped the match in the group stage after winning Canada 1-0, losing 0-2 to Morocco and drawing 0-0 with Croatia. The win over Sweden is also the first match of coach Domenico Tedesco, after replacing his predecessor Roberto Martinez.

For Sweden, the defeat in the opening match of the Euro 2024 qualifier predicts the future will continue to be gloomy. Previously, Sweden missed the opportunity to attend the 2022 World Cup due to a 0-2 loss to Poland in the play-off final. In the previous two tournaments, they reached the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup and the 1/8 round of Euro 2021.

The hat-trick against Sweden brought Lukaku’s record in Belgium to 71 goals in 105 matches. He is the player with the most goals in the history of the team, far ahead of the 33 goals of the second-ranked Eden Hazard.

The hat-trick against Sweden also brought new atmosphere to Lukaku after a series of declines at Inter. In 19 matches played for the club from the beginning of the 2022-2023 season, the 29-year-old striker has only five goals.

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