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  • By Alessandro Schiavone

New Fulham boy Castagne and Chelsea flop Lukaku shine as Belgium trash Estonia 5-0. And Trossard...

Exclusive from King Boudewijn Stadium in Brussels

Belgium 5-0 Estonia (Vertonghen, Trossard, Lukaku, Lukaku, De Ketelaere)

Journalist Alessandro Schiavone has analysed the performances of four players with London links, past and present, at King Boudewijn Stadium in Brussels

Jan Vertonghen (ex Tottenham Hotspur): At King Boudewijn Stadium on Tuesday night, Belgium began brightly, having plenty if not all of the ball from the off. Everyone, even the most optimistic Estonia supporter, knew that in this fixture goals were never going to come at a premium. Needless to say the two countries’ nine-point gap in the table warned us of the unfolding narrative as stats do tell the whole story sometimes. This game was only ever going to go one way and Belgium let their technical, tactical and athletic supremacy loose on Estonia, who only had one point on board before travelling to Brussels. Predictably the the East Europeans’ post- mortem was running early on. Very early as less four minutes into the game Tottenham Hotspur legend Jan Vertonghen headed his country in front, pouncing on goalkeeper Karl Hein’s hesitancy from a corner. On his 150th cap for his country, Belgium’s all-time most capped player got his goal. Not many can say that about themselves. And while the only-one-year younger Vincent Kompany has been retired for three years now and partner in crime Toby Alderweireld called it a day after the disastrous World Cup in Qatar, Vertonghen is still going strong and defying time. A living legend.

Romelu Lukaku (On loan at Roma from Chelsea): Despite missing a number of chances in the… warm-up, AS Roma’s loanee from Chelsea was always going to add to his 75-goal haul against a footballing nation ranked 111th in the game. That’s 22 places BEHIND Luxembourg who got trashed 9-0 against Portugal yesterday. But in the first period he did nothing to silence his English critics when he fired a lame effort straight at the goalkeeper with his weaker right foot. Yet his ability with his back to goal and ability to hold off the ball when marked tightly made life easier for the advancing wingers who had a lot of freedom and territory around him to produce the goods. And the man who was dragged through the mud in England, impressively laid the groundwork for Arsenal winger Trossard’s stunning strike. He then went on to win a free-kick from the edge of the box after cutting inside and giving Estonia’s rear-guard a big puzzle to solve with a flurry of Ronaldo-esque stepovers. Yet the missed chance count kept on soaring when the goalkeeper beat away his potent strike after the restart. But goals are no Nutella... they are like Ketchup. And so Mangala’s quick thinking sent him racing clear before he rolled his shot in the bottom far corner to make it 3-0 for Belgium and 76 for him on a personal level. His mental resilience and never-say-die attitude helped him to a quickfire brace. Hence, after collecting a precise pass by Theate again with his back to goal, he swivelled before placing a curler where the goalkeeper could never get to. On 77 goals it will be hard for anyone to ever catch him. The second most prolific scorer of the country's history, Eden Hazard, bowed out on 33…

Leandro Trossard (Arsenal): The Gunner looked the real deal and meant business in the opening half. Operating behind Lukaku in head coach Tedesco’s 4-2-3-1, he was as good as anyone. Yet judging his performance by his unstoppable missile into the top corner after excellent footwork in the build-up would be reductive. Credit to him, the Estonia defenders lacked the ingredients to deal with his pace, movements and tight-space skills. On a number of occasions, Trossard cut through Estonia via central areas, ran circles around whoever attempted to neutralise him and could easily also have had an assist to his game only for Yannick Ferreira Carrasco to drill his shot over.

Timothy Castagne (Fulham FC): The new Fulham man played as a right full-back and looked assured defensively and confident with the ball at his feet. He can also pride himself on being the architect of Belgium’s fourth goal after regaining possession with a tackle high up the pitch. Seconds later the ball landed to Lukaku who let his cannibal instincts loose. In the light of what he showed tonight, if the former Leicester man translates his performances for Belgium for Fulham he will give Dutchman Kenny Tete a run for his money when club football resumes.  

תגובה אחת

13 בספט׳ 2023

Did you really MEAN to say Lukaku has "cannibal instincts"?


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