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Belgium's victory rearranges an intriguing celestial configuration

Despite the curse, Lukaku endures setback

Superstar Kevin De Bruyne personally ensured the decision.
Superstar Kevin De Bruyne personally ensured the decision.

Belgium's victory rearranges an intriguing celestial configuration

Belgium triumphantly qualifies for the European Championship quarterfinals, dominating Romania in a 2:0 (1:0) victory. Following a disheartening initial loss, Domenico Tedesco's team, dubbed the favorites, clinches their spot in the tournament. Group E promises a nerve-wracking round of 16 match. Striker Romelu Lukaku endures another setback.

The Belgian soccer team broke their goal drought on the grand tournament stage, kicking off with a powerful start and securing their place in the European Championship quarterfinals. Coached by Domenico Tedesco, the team defeated Romania after a commanding but ineffective performance. This sets the stage for a tense clash in Group E.

Through early goals by Youri Tielemans (2nd minute) and Kevin De Bruyne (80th minute), Belgium joins Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine with three points. In the final matchday, all four teams have the potential to emerge as group winners or finish at the bottom. Belgium battles Ukraine on Wednesday (6:00 PM), while Romania squares off against Slovakia simultaneously.

A Lightning-Fast Goal Offers Relief

The Belgians struggled to score 47 goals since their 1:0 against Canada in the World Cup opener in Qatar in 2022 - all to no avail. Belgium's first attempt against Romania also fell short: Tielemans scored after a crafty set-up from Romelu Lukaku just 73 seconds into the match.

Tedesco, who replaced four players following the disappointing 0:1 against Slovakia, exhaled heavily on the sidelines. Romania showed little interest in a corner kick, and Radu Dragusin's header could have equalized. The first half was primarily controlled by Belgium, yet they lacked the crucial finishing touch and accuracy in the penalty area.

Belgium's star striker Lukaku (13th minute) missed an opportunity after a block, as did veteran national team player Jan Vertonghen (19th minute) after a corner. Dodi Lukebakio (18th minute) and Jeremy Doku (31st minute) had unsuccessful finishes, and Romania's goalkeeper Florin Nita handled the shots with ease.

Lukaku Experiences Another Setback

Near the Belgian border, the "Red Devils" faced a challenging endurance test - a high-intensity one. Romania, who had shocked many with their 3:0 win against Ukraine, counter-attacked frequently. Belgium moved the ball through midfielders, and captain De Bruyne seemed to be in imminent danger of scoring in the penalty area. Midfield challenges? No sign.

Valentin Mihaila (48th minute) almost took advantage of Belgium's opportunities. De Bruyne (52nd/55th minute) tried his luck on the other side twice, but Lukaku experienced a painful Déjà vu: His goal for a 2:0 was disallowed by the good World Cup referee Szymon Marciniak from Poland due to an offside call - Lukaku had already had two goals disallowed against Slovakia. The game became increasingly chaotic, errors mounted. Romania also found themselves in dangerous scoring positions more frequently.

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Despite the setback with another disallowed goal for Romelu Lukaku, Belgium persisted in their quest for redemption, aiming to overcome the 'Gate curse' that had been haunting their striker. In the constellation of Group E, Belgium's handful of points placed them in a precarious position alongside Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine, each team vying for a place in the quarterfinals or a disappointing exit from the European Championship.