BORDEAUX (FRANCE), June 18: Belgium roared back into contention for a spot in the knockout phase of Euro 2016 with a dominant 3-0 thumping of Ireland in a Group E match at the Stade de Bordeaux here on Saturday.
Romeru Lukaku (48th, 70th minutes) struck twice for the highest ranked team in the tournament while Axel Witsel (61st) also found himself on the scoresheet.
Lukaku thus became the first Belgian to score twice in a game at a major tournament since current manager Marc Wilmots did so against Mexico in the 1998 World Cup � coincidentally also held in France. Saturday�s result also extended Belgium�s unbeaten run against Ireland to eight matches, including three wins.
Belgium have now risen from the bottom of the group table to the second spot behind title contenders Italy with three points from two matches. Ireland fell to the bottom of the group and virtually out of contention for a last 16 berth with a single point after two matches and goal difference -3.
The highest ranked team in Europe, World No. 2 Belgium started their campaign in an embarrassing manner as they were thoroughly outclassed by Italy. However, they convincingly re-established their credentials on Saturday by showcasing awesome attacking ability. � IANS