Belgium vs Romania 2-0: Tielemans and De Bruyne Revive Diables Rouges

Now, this is the real Belgium. The Diables Rouges had been the only lineup among the Euro 2024 favorites to lose their opening game, but they promptly bounced back tonight in Cologne as they wiped out Romania with two goals from Youri Tielemans and Kevin De Bruyne.

Romelu Lukaku had yet another goal disallowed (for the third time in this Euro!) but played a decisive role in Domenico Tedesco’s lineup as made his massive presence felt in the heart of the Tricolorii‘s box. Romania were forced to concede their first goal just 75 seconds into the game but still appeared a solid side despite a shaky defense. 

In view of Ukraine’s yesterday’s win over Slovakia, Group E confirms to be the most balanced in the competition as all four teams are now tied at three points. 

The two sides approach the game from totally opposite moods, with Belgium shocked at their loss to Slovakia while Romania were galvanized by their thrashing of Ukraine in their previous game. The Diables Rouges were thus determined to redeem themselves fast and their pressing was suffocating since the get-go.

It took just a bit more than one minute for Tedesco’s side to open the scoring: Jérémy Doku served Lukaku in the middle of the box and Big Rom did a great job in protecting the ball before delivering it to Tielemans, whose sharp right foot shot gave Florin Nita his first disappointment of the night. 

But Romania’s reaction was immediate and resulted in a dangerous header from former Genoa defender Radu Dragusin that the Belgian goalkeeper somehow parried back. It looked like the prelude to a vibrant and balanced game, but Belgium’s high press progressively overcame the Tricolorii and Dragusin’s attempt remained the only shot on target produced in the first half by Edward Iordanescu’s side.

The Diables Rouges, on the other hand, could have doubled their lead on multiple occasions. Lukaku was blocked by Nicusor Bancu with a great slide tackle when all he had to do was firing the ball from close range.  Nica was called to action twice, by Doku and by Sevilla’s Dodi Lukebakio and was up to the task in both occasions. 

Romania had a sudden burst of life early after the restart as Parma’s Valentin Mihaila snatched the ball out of Amadou Onana’s feet at midfield, and dashed across the pitch to go one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but his final shot sailed off target. 

Slowly but surely, Belgium captain’s De Bruyne took control of the game. His curling effort from the left hand side was only a few inches too wide. On 63 minutes, he turned provider as he picked Lukaku right past Romania’s defensive line with the pass of the night. From the Man City dynamo’s suggestion, Big Rom found the bottom right corner of the net, but his celebration was cut short by the VAR again.  

Lukaku had another shooting attempt a few minutes later but Nita’s save certified that it was just not meant to be for him tonight. And so, it was De Bruyne to wrap Belgium’s win on 80 minutes as he received the ball directly from his goalkeeper. Romania were caught off guard as Casteels picked his captain with a long range kick and all De Bruyne had to do was stretch his leg to put the ball past Nita, firing his side into the temporary first place of this very balanced Euro 2024 group.  

Belgium will face Ukraine in his final outing while Slovakia will be Romania’s opponent. Much can still happen here. 



June 22, 2024 – Euro 2024 Group E

SCORERS: 2′ Tielemans, 80′ De Bruyne

BELGIUM (3-4-3): Casteels; Castagne, Faes, Vertonghen; Doku (72′ Carrasco), Tielemans (72′ Mangala), Onana, Theate (77′ Debast); De Bruyne, Lukaku, Lukebakio (56′ Trossard) (Kaminski, Sels, Vranckx, De Ketelaere, Bakayoko, Openda, De Cuyper, Vermeeren) Coach: Tedesco
ROMANIA (4-5-1): Niță; Rațiu, Burcă, Drăgușin, Bancu (92′ Sorescu); Man, R. Marin, M. Marin (68′ Olaru), Stanciu, Mihaila (68′ Hagi); Drăguș (81′ Alibec) (Moldovan, Tarnovanu, Rus, Nedelcearu, Cicaldau, Puscas, Coman, Mogos, Racovitan, Birligea, Sut) Coach: Iordanescu

REFEREE: Mr. Marciniak (Poland)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Lukebakio (B), M. Marin (R); Added Time: 1st Half 1′, 2nd Half 4′