Belgium plays off ‘captain’s riot,’ Ronaldo scores in his 200th international appearance
Belgium got rid of the “captain’s row” for a while with a victory. Without goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois – officially absent due to a knee injury in his honor – the Belgians dealt with the Estonians (0-3) in Group F of the 2024 European Championship qualifiers.
The Belgians entered Tallinn with a team that had changed in five places compared to Saturday’s match against Austria that ended 1-1; again without Kevin de Bruyne, who was injured on his hamstring, but with a new goalkeeper in the person of Matz Sells, player of Strasbourg.
Lukaku wears captain’s armband again
Striker Romelu Lukaku again wore the captain’s armband that has become stake in a conflict starring the mutinous Courtois. Apart from the fact that Courtois thinks he should wear the band, he allegedly made negative comments about his defensive line after the game against Austria.
Lukaku did not disappoint new Italian national coach Domenico Tedesco in his choice. Within four minutes, the striker scored 0-1 and 0-2 just before halftime by both times working a cross behind goalkeeper Kari Hein of Estonia, but the first goal was later turned into an own goal by defender Rasmus Peetson.
Lukaku has now scored 15 consecutive goals for the Belgians. PSV attacker Johan Bakayoko made it 0-3 just before the end.
Scoring, that’s what Christiano Ronaldo wanted too. He had expressed his desire beforehand to grace his bicentennial international game – the most ever in international soccer – with a goal for the Portuguese team.
In the 3-0 win against Bosnia and Herzegovina last Saturday, it was Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes (2) who signed for the goals. This time, no Portuguese seemed to score in the game against Iceland in Group J. But in injury time, Ronaldo scored anyway in Reykjavik.
After first getting yellow for unadulterated schwalbe, he became matchwinner with a late goal. His 0-1 from close range means Portugal now have 12 points from four games.
Erling Haaland was also effective on Tuesday. At Norway, which took only one point in its first three games, the striker of Champions League winner Manchester City has picked up where he left off when it comes to scoring goals.
After his hit penalty Saturday in the 1-2 loss against Scotland, the Norwegian was successful twice against Cyprus. First he made it 2-0 from yet another penalty and then the 3-0 was his 55th goal this season, Manchester City and Norway combined. The final 3-1 win means the Norwegians are back in a small way in Group A.
Water ballet in Glasgow
In the same group, Scotland almost saw their match against Georgia go down the drain. The still unbeaten Scots took the lead as early as the eighth minute through a goal by Callum McGregor, after which the referee called a break because Hampden Park in Glasgow had been turned into a glorified pond by the many showers.
With mopping, the groundsmen tried to make the turf playable again. The match was only resumed after an hour and a half. Scotland eventually won the game 2-0.