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Belgium beat Romania to breathe new life into Euro challenge

Published : Monday, 24 June, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 158

Belgium beat Romania to breathe new life into Euro challenge

Belgium beat Romania to breathe new life into Euro challenge

COLOGNE, JUNE 23: Youri Tielemans breathed new life into Belgiums Euro 2024 campaign as the Aston Villa midfielders goal after just 73 seconds inspired a vital 2-0 win against Romania on Saturday.

Domenico Tedescos side would have been on the brink of elimination if they had suffered a second successive Group E defeat.

But Tielemans second-minute strike in Cologne eased fears of yet another major tournament flop from star-studded Belgium.

Kevin De Bruyne wrapped up the points in the closing stages to leave all four teams in the group level on three points.

The stage is set for a dramatic final round of fixtures in the battle to reach the last 16.

Belgium face Ukraine and Romania play Slovakia on June 26.

With 45 rungs separating the two nations in FIFAs rankings, third-placed Belgiums 1-0 loss to Slovakia on Monday was the biggest upset in European Championship history.

Romania, ranked in 47th place, competed gamely as they chased their own shock, but this time Belgiums superior class proved decisive.

"I have the same feeling as against Slovakia: we played well but the difference is that we scored and won today," said Belgium captain De Bruyne.

"We made a few mistakes and gave away a few chances, but we can be satisfied with our performance, both offensively and defensively."

Having bowed out at the group stage of the 2022 World Cup and lost in the quarter-finals of the last two Euros, Belgiums golden generation have given themselves fresh hope of finally delivering on their vast potential.

Romania had powered to a 3-0 win against Ukraine on Monday -- their first victory in a major tournament since beating England at Euro 2000.

Despite this loss, Edward Iordanescus team are still in contention to make the Euro knockout stage for the first time in 24 years.

"We never gave up, we fought very hard. In the second half, we were better. With a bit of luck we could have got a point," said Romania coach Iordanescu.

Belgium had failed to score in over 300 minutes at major tournaments since netting against Canada at the last World Cup.

A sweeping move climaxed when Jeremy Dokus pass found Romelu Lukaku in the Romania penalty area and he laid the ball back to Tielemans, who smashed a powerful low strike past Florin Nita from the edge of the area.    —AFP







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