Euro 2024

Belgium v Romania: Back Lukaku to have luck on his side at 9/2

Romelu Lukaku Belgium
Lukaku was unfortunate to have a goal ruled out in Belgium's opener and will be desperate to make amends on Saturday

Football tipster Abigail Davies has previewed Belgium v Romania, looking through the odds to find the best value bets, including Romelu Lukaku to score two or more goals at 9/25.50.

Belgium v Romania
Saturday 22 June, 20:00
Live on ITV1

Earlier this week Group E was blown wide open after the first round of fixtures, with one of the greatest upsets we have ever witnessed in the history of this event, as favourites Belgium were beaten by Slovakia just hours after many people's pick to finish runner-up, Ukraine, suffered a bruising defeat to Romania.

The Red Devils and Tricolorii couldn't have experienced more contrasting emotions on Monday, with Domenico Tedesco having never previously tasted defeat as the nation's manager, it's going to be incredibly interesting to see how his side responds.

Belgium to bounce back

Belgium's initial aim for Euro 2024 was simple, avoid the same humiliating fate that they did at the World Cup two years ago but with their golden generation failing to reach their potential, this exctiting crop has also suffered an enormous setback in their first match at a major, which has left them with a lot to do.

Yes, they now find themselves on the back-foot but they'll of course still fancy the job with an abundance of talent at their disposal. While there will understandably be a lot of emphasis on how well organised and lively Slovakia were, there was a lot to like about the Belgian's link-up play at times and this monumental disaster could well have been avoided.

Whilst they struggled to control things in the middle of the park, they did advance into dangerous areas and carve out a whole host of chances, largely through the delightful skill and easy on the eye dribbling ability of Jeremy Doku out on the right and Kevin De Bruyne's range of passing, numerous opportunities were squandered but given the gulf in quality between the two sides, it always felt as though they'd make something happen. Surely it was bound to click at some point? Surely their dismal recent form in major tournaments wasn't set to continue? But now we're left asking whether they can make amends and bounce back after suffering the first big shock of the summer.

Romelu Lukaku had his head in his hands a few times in the opening 45 as he spurned chance after chance, he certainly endured a bit of an off day. He did find the back of the net twice in the second-half, the former Manchester United man clearly offside with the first but the second goal being ruled out was more controversial and I'd argue should have drawn Belgium level. Given the positions he got himself into time and time again along with the abundance of support he has in attack, I'm backing the side to make things happen on Saturday and there's value at 9/25.50 in the striker to score two or more goals that stand in this match!

Despite Doku making the mistake that resulted in the only goal in their opener, I expect the 22-year-old to respond well, continue to push forward into dangerous areas and deliver delightful balls into the box that are a lot more fruitful this time around.

Remarkable Romania remain confident

Well, what a difference a goal makes! Romania started their opening match very much on the backfoot, with Ukraine advancing into dangerous areas and enjoying all of the possession in the early stages but when Romania capitalised on a huge defensive blunder and Nicolae Stanciu scored a screamer from range 15 minutes before halftime, it was they who started to dictate the tempo and flow of the game.

nicolau romania.jpg

Defensively, there was so much to admire from the performance of Radu Dragusin in particular. Even when caught out of position, his recovery runs were sublime. Their hunger, desire and celebration of every clearance emphasising the significance of each moment they kept their opponents at bay. However, despite Ukraine seeing more of the ball, they failed to ask too many questions of Romania's defence, with a number of their key players having an off day and I think any lapse in concentration or positional errors in this one will be punished by a side looking to put things right.

With Belgium's firepower up top but questionmarks over their defence, at 4/51.80 I think we'll see over 2.5 goals in this one.

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