GENK, Belgium (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.
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”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.
KUFSTEIN, Austria (AP) — Striker Pierre Webo picked up a left shoulder injury while scoring Cameroon’s first goal in a 2-0 victory over Macedonia in a warmup game for the World Cup.
Webo beat Macedonia goalkeeper Tome Pacovski with an acrobatic bicycle kick in the 52nd minute but landed on his arm and thus left the field immediately.
The Fenerbahce striker, who scored his 18th goal in 54 international matches, had his left arm in a sling though there was no immediate information on the extent of his injury.
In the 84th, Maxim Choupo-Moting scored with a low shot after loose defending by Macedonia to double Cameroon’s lead.
Coach Volker Finke’s team, which has been drawn in Group A with Mexico, Croatia and host Brazil, was without its key striker Samuel Eto’o, who is recovering from a knee injury.
Choupo-Moting had hit the crossbar with a thundering strike in the 17th minute, Cameroon’s best scoring opportunity in the first half.
Cameroon keeper Guy N’Dy Assembe, who replaced Sammy N’Djock at half-time, prevented Macedonia’s Blaze Ilioski from scoring after a counter attack by the Europeans in the 70th minute.
Mohammadou Idrissou, who came on for Webo, was denied Cameroon’s third goal as keeper Pacovski pushed his powerful volley over the crossbar in injury time.
Cameroon plays Paraguay in its next warmup game in Austria on Thursday.
Iran 0, Montenegro 0
HARTBERG, Austria (AP) — Iran was held to 0-0 by Montenegro in a friendly on Monday for its second straight goalless draw in the buildup to the World Cup.
Iran, which played Belarus eight days ago, lost Hashem Beikzadeh early in the match. The defender limped off the field with an apparent right leg injury after 15 minutes.
Midfielder Ashkan Dejagah came closest for Iran with a curling free kick that forced Montenegro keeper Mladen Bozovic to a diving safe in the 28th minute, while captain Javad Nekounam saw his header go just wide in the 40th.
Iran plays Angola at the same venue in Austria on Friday and has a final warmup game against Trinidad and Tobago in Sao Paulo on June 8 before taking on Nigeria, Argentina and Bosnia-Hercegovina in Group F.