First-half goals from Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard set Belgium on their way to a 3-0 win against Egypt in a pre-World Cup friendly at King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on Wednesday.
The Lukaku goal – which came just before the half-hour mark when Egypt keeper Essam El-Hadary deflected a Hazard strike into his path for an easy tap in – makes him Belgium’s all-time leading scorer with 31, breaking a three-way tie with countrymen Bernard Voorhoof and Paul Van Himst.
After Lukaku’s opener, Hazard put the hosts two up shortly before the break, curling in a first-time shot from the center of the area after Yannick Carrasco had picked him out from the endline.
Belgium boss Roberto Martinez brought on three substitutes at half-time in Marouane Fellaini, Michy Batshuayi and Nacer Chadli, as the game settled in at a slightly lower-tempo with Egypt getting the better of the second-half chances, but never finding the back of the net.
Belgium added a third in second-half stoppage time with Batshuayi setting up Fellaini for an easy finish from six yards out to reach the final scoreline.
Martinez raised eyebrows by slotting Laurent Ciman into skipper Kompany’s No. 4 shirt and keeping him on for 90 minutes. Ciman is officially only on the waiting list for Russia in case the Manchester City man, or possibly Barcelona’s Thomas Vermaelen are injured.
“It makes sense that he’s standing in a position where he is waiting for what is going to happen,” Martinez said, describing Ciman as a good fit for either injured defender.
Egypt are still without Mohamed Salah after the Liverpool striker was injured in their Champions League final loss to Real Madrid on May 26. Salah faces a fitness race to return for the World Cup in Russia, but team doctors are optimistic he could be ready as early as the group stage.
Belgium will play one more friendly against Costa Rica on June 11 before opening group play against Panama on June 18. Egypt’s World Cup friendly preparation is over as they look to their group opener against Uruguay on June 15.
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