Earlier this month, Manchester United legend Phil Neville made a sweeping statement about Belgium.
When asked on social networking site Twitter if Belgium have a chance at the 2014 World Cup finals, the 37-year-old claimed that lack of a centre-forward means that Marc Wilmots’ side won’t make a big impact in Brazil.
Neville’s comment would have come as a surprise to many, given that Romelu Lukaku has just finished his second successive productive season in the Premier League. The 21-year-old scored 17 goals and provided four assists for West Bromwich Albion in 2012-13, and was on target 15 times and created six goals for Everton in 2013-14.
Lukaku’s future at his parent club Chelsea is wrapped up in uncertainty, and there have been suggestions that he will be sold this summer. In his two years in the English top flight, Lukaku has shown his potential, but apparently he had failed to convince Neville.
However, following his performance for Belgium against Luxembourg in Genk on Monday, Lukuku appears to have proved to the former England international that he is capable of leading the line for his country in Brazil.
Belgium look like they've found a centre forward could be a threat at world cup ahhaha— phil neville18 (@fizzer18) May 26, 2014
Lukaku scored a hat-trick for the Belgians as they eased past their opponents 5-1 in the friendly international. Of course, it was only Luxembourg, who are considered as European minnows, so it would be foolhardy to read much into this match to judge how far Belgium can progress.
However, Belgium have a very talented squad that includes Eden Hazard, Adnan Januzaj, Kevin De Bruyne, Vincent Kompany and Thibaut Courtois. The absence of striker Christian Benteke due to injury has left them a bit short of centre-forwards, but with Lukaku in redhot form and Divock Origi looking promising, Belgium can get out of their group and progress to the last 16.