Belgium 2-0 Romania
22th June 2024 – Euro 2024

Euro 2024: Belgium Revives Campaign with Convincing 2-0 Victory over Romania

Key Moments:

  • 2′: Youri Tielemans scores the third-fastest goal in Euro history
  • 63′: Romelu Lukaku has a goal disallowed for offside
  • 68′: Dennis Man misses a golden opportunity for Romania
  • 80′: Kevin De Bruyne seals the win with Belgium’s second goal

In a must-win encounter at the Cologne Stadium, Belgium reignited their Euro 2024 campaign with a commanding 2-0 victory over Romania. The Red Devils, smarting from their shock opening defeat to Slovakia, showcased their quality and determination to keep their tournament hopes alive.

From the opening whistle, Belgium’s intent was clear. Just 75 seconds into the match, Youri Tielemans unleashed a thunderous strike from the edge of the box, giving Belgium the perfect start and etching his name in the record books with the third-fastest goal in European Championship history.

The early goal set the tone for a dominant Belgian performance, with Kevin De Bruyne pulling the strings in midfield and Romelu Lukaku causing constant problems for the Romanian defense. Despite their control, Belgium’s profligacy in front of goal kept Romania in the game, with Lukaku having yet another goal disallowed – his third of the tournament.

Romania, buoyed by their impressive 3-0 win over Ukraine in their opener, showed flashes of the form that had many considering them dark horses. Their best chance came in the 68th minute when Dennis Man found himself one-on-one with Belgian goalkeeper Koen Casteels, only to fire straight at the keeper in a moment that could have changed the complexion of the match.

As Romania pushed for an equalizer, spaces began to open up for Belgium, and it was the irrepressible De Bruyne who capitalized. In the 80th minute, the Manchester City maestro latched onto a Lukaku flick-on and coolly slotted past the onrushing Romanian goalkeeper to seal the victory.

The win puts Belgium back on track in Group E, with all four teams now level on three points heading into the final round of matches. For Romania, the defeat is a setback, but their tournament hopes remain very much alive.

Tactical Analysis:

Belgium manager Domenico Tedesco made subtle but significant changes to the team that lost to Slovakia. The inclusion of Youri Tielemans provided more stability in midfield, allowing De Bruyne greater freedom to influence the game. The decision to start Jeremy Doku on the wing added pace and directness to Belgium’s attack, stretching the Romanian defense and creating spaces for Lukaku to exploit.

Romania’s Edward Iordanescu set his team up to counter Belgium’s possession-based style, looking to exploit spaces behind the Belgian fullbacks. However, the early goal forced Romania to be more proactive, which played into Belgium’s hands. The Romanians struggled to cope with Belgium’s quick transitions and the movement of De Bruyne between the lines.

Belgium’s high press was particularly effective, forcing Romania into errors and preventing them from building attacks from the back. This tactical approach not only stifled Romania’s creativity but also allowed Belgium to maintain territorial dominance throughout much of the match.

Player Ratings:


Koen Casteels (7/10): Solid when called upon, made a crucial save from Man’s one-on-one opportunity.
Timothy Castagne (7/10): Provided width on the right and defended well against Romania’s counter-attacks.
Wout Faes (6/10): Generally steady, but had a few nervy moments when Romania pressed.
Jan Vertonghen (7/10): Used his experience to marshal the defense and read the game well.
Arthur Theate (6/10): Solid defensively but could have offered more going forward.
Youri Tielemans (8/10): Scored a brilliant early goal and controlled the tempo in midfield.
Amadou Onana (7/10): Strong physical presence in midfield, breaking up Romanian attacks.
Kevin De Bruyne (9/10): Man of the match performance, pulling the strings and scoring the crucial second goal.
Jeremy Doku (7/10): Constant threat with his pace and dribbling, though final ball sometimes lacking.
Romelu Lukaku (7/10): Worked tirelessly and was unlucky to have a goal disallowed.
Dodi Lukebakio (6/10): Showed flashes of skill but struggled to make a consistent impact.

Leandro Trossard (6/10): Added fresh legs to the attack in the latter stages.
Yannick Carrasco (N/A): Not enough time to make a significant impact.
Zeno Debast (N/A): Late substitute to shore up the defense.


Florin Nita (6/10): Made some good saves but could do little about the goals.
Andrei Ratiu (5/10): Struggled to contain Belgium’s attacks down his flank.
Radu Dragusin (6/10): Showed promise but was often overwhelmed by Belgium’s movement.
Andrei Burca (5/10): Found it difficult to cope with Lukaku’s physicality and movement.
Nicusor Bancu (6/10): Solid defensively but offered little going forward.
Marius Marin (6/10): Worked hard in midfield but couldn’t stem the tide of Belgian attacks.
Razvan Marin (6/10): Tried to create from deep but found it difficult against Belgium’s press.
Nicolae Stanciu (6/10): Romania’s most creative player, but lacked support from his teammates.
Dennis Man (5/10): Missed a golden opportunity to equalize, which proved costly.
Denis Dragus (5/10): Isolated for long periods, unable to influence the game.
Valentin Mihaila (5/10): Struggled to make an impact and was substituted in the second half.

Ianis Hagi (6/10): Brought energy to Romania’s attack after coming on.
Florinel Coman (6/10): Added some spark but couldn’t change the outcome.
Alexandru Cicaldau (N/A): Not enough time to influence the game.

Impact on the Group:

This result throws Group E wide open, with all four teams now on three points. Belgium’s superior goal difference puts them in a strong position, but everything will be decided in the final round of matches.

Group E Table:


Fan Reaction and Atmosphere:

The Cologne Stadium was a cauldron of noise, with both sets of fans creating an electric atmosphere. The Belgian supporters, who had been subdued after the opening defeat, found their voice early with Tielemans’ goal and grew in confidence as the match progressed.

Romanian fans, while disappointed with the result, continued to back their team vociferously throughout. The rendition of their national anthem before kick-off was particularly spine-tingling, showcasing the passion that makes international football so special.

Looking Ahead:

For Belgium, this performance will come as a huge relief. The quality of their squad was never in doubt, but questions had been raised about their ability to perform under pressure. This win not only keeps their Euro 2024 hopes alive but also serves as a statement of intent to the rest of the tournament.

Romania, despite the setback, can take heart from their overall performance in the tournament so far. Their opening win against Ukraine proved they can compete at this level, and with all teams in the group level on points, they still have every chance of progressing to the knockout stages.


Q: How significant is Youri Tielemans’ early goal in Euro history?
A: Tielemans’ goal after 75 seconds is the third-fastest in European Championship history, behind only Dmitri Kirichenko’s goal for Russia against Greece in 2004 (65 seconds) and Nedim Bajrami’s goal for Italy against Albania earlier in this tournament (23 seconds).

Q: Why has Romelu Lukaku had so many goals disallowed in this tournament?
A: Lukaku has fallen foul of tight offside decisions and VAR reviews. While frustrating for the player, it demonstrates the fine margins at this level of football.

Q: How has Kevin De Bruyne’s return impacted Belgium’s performance?
A: De Bruyne’s influence was evident throughout the match. His vision, passing range, and ability to find space between the lines provided Belgium with a creative spark that was missing in their opening game.

Q: Can Romania still qualify for the knockout stages?
A: Yes, Romania’s qualification hopes are very much alive. With all teams in Group E on three points, their final group game against Ukraine will be crucial in determining who progresses.

Q: How has Belgium’s tactical approach changed from their first match?
A: Belgium adopted a more aggressive pressing strategy and utilized the width provided by their fullbacks more effectively. The inclusion of Tielemans in midfield also allowed for better ball circulation and control of the game’s tempo.

Next Fixtures:

Belgium: vs Ukraine (June 27, 2024)
Romania: vs Slovakia (June 27, 2024)

In conclusion, Belgium’s 2-0 victory over Romania has breathed new life into their Euro 2024 campaign. The performance showcased the quality that many expected from this golden generation of Belgian footballers. For Romania, while the defeat is disappointing, their tournament is far from over. With Group E finely poised, the final round of matches promises to be a thrilling spectacle, with all four teams still in contention for a place in the knockout stages. As the tournament progresses, both Belgium and Romania will need to build on the positives from this match if they hope to make a deep run in Euro 2024.

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