Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Belgium 2-0 Romania: Kevin de Bruyne delivers masterclass in Euro 2024 win

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Cologne was decorated in red and yellow all day, a message on the big screens from the great “Maradona of the Carpathians” Gheorghe Hagi shown on the big screens before kick-off taking the massed ranks of Romania fans to boiling point.

The match was wild, open, fiercely contested and with De Bruyne rising above all others.

The space afforded by the nature of the game gave Belgium’s playmaker room to operate. It was an opportunity he was not going to pass up.

De Bruyne set the tone with one slaloming first-half run that left Romanian players trailing in his wake and Dodi Lukebakio just unable to take advantage.

If the action was frantic, De Bruyne had the quality and composure to make it look like he had more time on the ball than anyone else – particularly in a devastating second half.

He brought a fine save from Nita, flashed a cross into the six-yard area, then delivered a sumptuous pass of imagination and vision, cutting the Romania defence apart for Romelu Lukaku to apply a composed finish.

Inevitably, given Lukaku’s luck so far at Euro 2024, the Video Assistant Referee adjudged a hair’s-breadth offside and the tireless striker’s hunt for his first goal of the tournament goes on.

No matter for De Bruyne.

He was not to be denied and got the goal his performance deserved when he shrugged off the attentions of the Romania defence to poke a finish past Nita with 11 minutes left.

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