Belgium thrashed Azerbaijan 5-0 in a Euro 2024 qualifier on Sunday, with captain Romelu Lukaku scoring four goals in a stunning first-half display. Lukaku, who has now netted 14 times in eight games in the group stage, broke the record for the most goals scored in a single European Championship qualifying campaign.
The Belgium striker scored in the 11th minute after Azerbaijan defender Eddy Israfilov was sent off for a second yellow card following a reckless challenge on him. Lukaku then doubled the lead with a header from a corner in the 19th minute before completing his hat-trick with a low shot from the edge of the box in the 28th minute.
Lukaku added his fourth goal in the 31st minute with another header, this time from a cross by Yannick Carrasco, as Belgium ran riot in Brussels. The hosts eased off in the second half and made several substitutions, but still managed to score a fifth goal in the 82nd minute through Leandro Trossard, who curled in a fine shot from outside the area.
Belgium, who had already secured their place at Euro 2024 as group winners, extended their unbeaten run under coach Domenico Tedesco to 10 matches, winning eight. The former Schalke boss has restored the team’s confidence after a disappointing World Cup campaign in Qatar last year, where France eliminated them in the quarter-finals.
Azerbaijan, who finished fourth in the group with seven points from eight games, had a night to forget as the wrong national anthem greeted them before kick-off. The organizers mistakenly played the Swedish anthem instead of theirs, causing confusion and embarrassment among both teams.
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