Lukaku deals Croatia a losing end to Euro 2020 preparation ahead of England game

World number one Belgium sent out a warning they will be a major power at the Euros, with convincing victory in their final warm up game.

And it was – who else – Romelu Lukaku who set them on course for victory over England’s opponents Croatia, with his 60th goal for his country in just his 93rd appearance.

Lukaku was the star as Belgian boss Roberto Martinez made changes to his side in the absence of Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard. The former Manchester United striker scored a fine goal, and also hit the bar.

He was too hot to handle for Croatia, the opponents England will face in their first match of the Championships in a week’s time.

Lukaku popped up to score the only goal of the game

And there was little to worry national team boss Gareth Southgate, as the Croats created nothing, and didn’t even manage a shot on target until the 77th minute in a game where they took off leader Luca Modric after just an hour.

Lukaku showed the way for Harry Kane and co, with a powerful display which troubled a Croatia defence missing the injured Dejan Lovren.

His physical presence allowed the Belgians to dominate the ball, and he showed his intent from an early long ball, when he held off three defenders to turn and send a shot against the bar, with Yannick Carrasco heading the rebound against the bar.

Belgium are one of the favourites for the tournament
Belgium are one of the favourites for the tournament

Lukaku came close twice more, before opening the scoring on 38 minutes, when he again was allowed space to turn in the box following a corner, and he produced a fine finish to continue his impressing international scoring streak.

Lukaku was denied in the final seconds only by a fine double save from the Croatia keeper Dominik Livakovic.

It allowed Martinez the luxury of waiting until the final minutes to bring on Eden Hazard, who is still coming back from injury.

And there was some more good news for the Belgians, with the manager explaining de Bruyne has undergone successful surgery on a damaged eye socket and broken nose sustained in the Champions League final.

Martinez confirmed his superstar forward WILL be fit for the Euros, and won’t even need to wear a protective mask for matches, with the operation strengthening his vulnerable eye socket.

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