Romelu Lukaku's hat trick paces Belgium by Luxembourg in WC tuneup
BRUSSELS (AP) - Romelu Lukaku scored a hat trick to lead Belgium 5-1 past Luxembourg in a World Cup warm-up game on Monday.
The triple boosted Lukaku's chances to be Belgium's striker at the World Cup after Christian Benteke withdrew injured almost two months ago. Belgium had gone four matches without a win but ended that run against its tiny neighbor.
Lukaku opened the score in the 3rd minute, scrambled a second home in the 23rd and made it three with a solo effort in the 54th minute. The Everton forward was replaced on the hour.
''It was a good performance,'' said Lukaku of his game in Genk. ''What makes me happy is that we performed as a team.''
Substitute Nacer Chadli added a fourth in the 71st minute and Kevin De Bruyne finished off with a penalty in the 90th. Luxembourg had earlier scored their only effort through Aurelien Joachim in the 13th minute.
In Brazil, the Red Devils will play Algeria, Russia and South Korea in Group H.
The game was also noteworthy for the debut of Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj, who only chose to play for the national team last month. With flowing one-touch football and moves on both sides of the pitch, he immediately had an impact.
''He gives us an extra dimension,'' said coach Marc Wilmots, but warned Januzaj was still far off getting his spot on the starting lineup. ''He faces a lot of competition.''
Belgium had Sammy Bossut in goal, who would normally be the fifth-choice keepers but because of injuries and an extended rest for No. 1 Thibaut Courtois, he had a winning debut. Simon Mignolet was still suffering from a sore muscle in his hip and Wilmots decided to rest him.
Belgium plays Sweden on Sunday and Tunisia on June 7 in its final warm-up games ahead of leaving for Brazil.
Sammy Bossut; Toby Alderweireld (46, Anthony Vanden Borre), Vincent Kompany (46, Daniel van Buyten), Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen (77, Nicolas Lombaerts); Marouane Fellaini, Axel Witsel (46, Steven Defour), Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard (46, Adnan Januzaj); Romelu Lukaku (61, Divock Origi), Kevin Mirallas (46, Nacer Chadli).
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