Published: Sun, June 24, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Belgium sweat on Lukaku injury and promise major changes against England

Belgium sweat on Lukaku injury and promise major changes against England

The Manchester United forward was criticised by Eden Hazard for not showing for the ball enough during the first half of Belgium's opening World Cup game against Panama.

Martinez pronounced himself satisfied with a performance which he said had shown further evidence of the team playing as a unit.

Lukaku's goals made him the World Cup's joint-leading scoring on four with Cristiano Ronaldo.

Of Lukaku, who has now scored 17 times in his last 11 worldwide matches, including four World Cup goals, Martínez said: "It's his external ankle ligament of his left foot".

Their attacking prowess was always going to be their strength at the tournament and their impressive display in Moscow's Spartak Stadium on Saturday, which took their goal tally to eight - as many as Russian Federation - from two matches, merely confirmed their status as a genuine outside bet for the title.

Lukaku however scored a second goal to leave score line at 3-1 at first half.

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"As the captain, even if I am not the captain I can talk, on the pitch I try to give my best, if I can help players to be better - I will".

"I wouldn't expect any player to work towards an individual award in this tournament".

Should that go to plan for Gareth Southgate's side, the contest between England and Belgium on Thursday - like it was tipped to be - is set to decide who wins the group and who comes out in second place.

But as both of his managers for club and country always emphasise, Lukaku is valuable for reasons beyond his prowess in the box.

But Belgians are wary, having started tournaments strongly before only to fail, as they did at the last World Cup and at Euro 2016, in the quarter-finals. And Mourinho will no doubt be looking for ways his players can benefit from his qualities up front to create more chances ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.

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