Belgium 0 Slovakia 1: Unlucky Romelu Lukaku has TWO goals disallowed by VAR leaving Red Devils in Euro 2024 peril

Belgium 0 Slovakia 1: Unlucky Romelu Lukaku has TWO goals disallowed by VAR leaving Red Devils in Euro 2024 peril

THE glitter has gone from Belgium’s Golden Generation.

Now it is about faded memories of what might have been.

AFPSlovakia pulled off a shock 1-0 win over Belgium[/caption]

RexBelgium were shocked by the Slovakians[/caption]

Those near misses. Those chances wasted. Those horror moments at the back that hurt them so badly. The marginal calls.

And if ever a match summed up that descent from the summit of hope to the valleys of despair, it was played out in the Waldstadion.

Against a game but limited Slovakia, gifted an early goal for Ivan Schranz, Belgium in their pomp would have romped home.

But that pomp has gone, faded, disappeared. 

We saw that as they went home from Qatar after the group stage.

The same fate could face them in Germany after a catalogue of blunders by a host of familiar Prem faces.

Romelu Lukaku, still nominally a Chelsea player, missed five and had TWO ruled out by VAR.

The second would never have been discussed in the past, Uefa’s new “snicko”-style technology ruling that substitute Lois Openda had nudged the ball with his hand before crossing for Lukaku to sweep home. 

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But while Kevin de Bruyne pulled the strings, he couldn’t get the kite flying.

And for all Belgium bewailed the video booth decisions from Leipzig, Jeremy Doku was left the guilty man, selling Wout Faes horribly short before Schranz cashed in for the key moment of the match.

In truth, Belgium did NOT deserve to lose.

Yet if you do not take your opportunities, you are made to pay.

And boy, did they miss their chances. Lukaku should have scored twice in the first few minutes, scuffing one shot at Martin Dubravka and then failing to round the keeper.

At this stage, Doku was killing the Slovakian left flank, seemingly certain to create the breakthrough.

So he did. But at the other end.

Dropping back near his own corner flag, Doku passed the ball into no-man’s land, Faes with no chance.

Schranz backheeled cleverly and while Juraj Kucka’s shot was parried by Koen Casteels, it fell perfectly for the Slavia Prague man to volley into the far corner.

Doku’s determination to make amends was evident as he teased and tormented left back David Hancko but Slovakia had something to hold on to.

Dubravka so nearly gave it away, panicked by De Bruyne’s intensity and passing straight to Leandro Trossard, only for the Arsenal man to send his 25-yarder sailing over the bar.

De Bruyne was always drifting into space, seeking to prompt and provide, but Slovak skipper Milan Skriniar was seemingly everywhere for his side, plugging the gaps superbly.

And Slovakia’s belief they could hurt Belgium behind both full-backs was so close to bringing them a second.

No Belgian was in the same postcode as Kucka as he barged down the right flank, picking out the unmarked Lukas Haraslin who thundered a volley that was destined for the top corner only for Casteels to make a fabulous one-handed save to his left.

EPARomelu Lukaku prodded home from point blank range[/caption]

APThe goal was ruled out by VAR[/caption]

ReutersThe striker had a second goal disallowed by VAR[/caption]

Yet Lukaku then should have levelled, missing for the third time when Yannick Carrasco played him in through the middle.

Lukaku’s first touch was bad, his second even worse, booting the ball out for a goal kick as he attempted to round Dubravka. Shocking.

Tedesco’s only initial change was to swap his wingers, Doku moving to the left for the second half and making an early impact once again.

Now Belgium were pushing. Lukaku, denied by Dubravka at his near post, thought he had levelled from the resulting corner, played short by De Bruyne to Trossard.

Amadou Onana rose at the far post to nod back and Lukaku stabbed home from a yard. The VAR check, though, was a clear one. Offside.

Dubravka then plunged to thwart Trossard, Lukaku thrashed into the side netting from a tight angle, before Hancko somehow got back to clear off the line from substitute Johan Bakayoko – taking a knee in the face from his team-mate Denis Vavro – after Doku’s cross was punched slapped out by the keeper.

Slovakia, forced ever backwards, were holding on by their fingernails, desperation growing in the Belgian ranks.

When Openda out-muscled Vavro down the left, Lukaku’s instant finish looked to have earned him salvation and Belgium a point.

But Turkish referee Umut Meier agreed with his directive from the East German bunker. Dubravka’s save from De Bruyne ensured the win. Belgium on the brink, already.

Match Stats

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