Lukaku qualifies Belgium for Russia World Cup

Lukaku qualifies Belgium for Russia World Cup

Belgium has become the first European nation to clinch qualification for the 2018 World Cup, thanks to a crucial goal by forward Romelu Lukaku, against Greece.

Much-fancied France, in contrast, were held to an embarrassing goalless draw by Luxembourg.

Manchester United striker Lukaku headed in a Thomas Meunier cross in the 74th minute in Piraeus for the decisive goal in a 2-1 Belgium win that guaranteed them top spot in European qualifying Group H.

All the goals came in a frantic five-minute spell, with a low drive by Jan Vertonghen putting Roberto Martinez’s side ahead in the 70th minute.

Belgian team celebrates Russia World Cup qualification

Portuguese-born midfielder Zeca equalised for Greece only for Lukaku to grab the decisive goal — his 10th in seven qualifiers — a minute later.

With just two matches remaining, Belgium enjoy an unassailable eight-point lead over second-placed Bosnia and Herzegovina, for whom Edin Dzeko netted twice in a 4-0 win over Gibraltar.

Belgium join Brazil, Iran, Japan, Mexico and hosts Russia in guaranteeing a place at next year’s finals.

In the battle for second and a spot in November’s play-offs, Bosnia are now a point ahead of Greece and four clear of Cyprus, beaten 1-0 in Estonia.

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