Belgium have had a really underwhelming start to the Qatar World Cup. As has been the case with them for the last few editions of the major tournament, the Red Devils are regarded as one of the favourites to win the World Cup.
Their performances, however, have not been that of the favourites at all. Roberto Martinez’s side has been troubled by injury troubles and is full of players who are well beyond their best years.
As a result, they’ve lacked the intensity and energy needed to dominate games at the World Cup.
In their opening game against Canada, Belgium were outplayed for the majority of the game.
This was against a side that were playing at the World Cup for the first time ever and including players who aren’t even playing in the major European leagues – unlike the majority of the Belgium squad’s players.
Despite that, the Canadian side managed to attempt 22 shots over their 9 shots. They had 3 shots on target and Belgium needed some heroics from goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who saved Alphonso Davies’ penalty and aided his side in crawling their way into a narrow win.
But Belgium got a haunting dose of reality in their second group game against a resurgent Morocco side on Sunday. The Red Devils were frustrated by the defensive fortitude of Morocco and stunned by their fearlessness as well.
With Michy Batshuayi & co struggling to get things done, Martinez was forced to bring out his trump card – that is Romelu Lukaku.
The Inter Milan forward has been struggling for fitness all season long and has been troubled with injuries. He missed the opening game due to a lack of fitness but managed to recover to help his side in the second game.
With the lack of goals and time running out, Martinez ordered Lukaku to have a pretty long warm-up session to get himself prepared to go onto the pitch.
That was accelerated when Morocco took a shock lead in the 73rd minute through Romain Saiss. Eight minutes after that, the Inter star was brought onto the pitch to help salvage a result for his side.
He was unable to do so, but what did catch the fans’ attention about Lukaku’s cameo was not even anything he did in the final third. It was the fact that the 29-year-old striker was pictured sweating profusely even before he came onto the pitch.
It seems like Romelu is having problems adapting to Qatar’s weather, as it was 28 degrees at the Al Thumama Stadium. The in-built air conditioners in the stadiums aren’t really helping his case either.
Or, he might’ve worked too hard in the warmup session in an attempt to be fully prepared when he stepped onto the pitch.
Whatever the case, Twitter couldn’t look away from the sight of Lukaku sweating profusely even before stepping on the pitch –
The Inter striker ultimately couldn’t make any kind of a positive impact, seeing his side fall to a bitter 2-0 loss that makes their final group game against Croatia a must-win bout to avoid a potentially embarrassing group stage exit.