23.06.2024 13:24 h

Theate backs 'unlucky' Lukaku to come good for Belgium

Belgium defender Arthur Theate said he has no doubt Romelu Lukaku's luck will turn after seeing three goals ruled out in his team's first two matches at Euro 2024.

Lukaku is Belgium's all-time leading scorer with 85 goals but has yet to add to that tally in Germany, having another effort disallowed in Saturday's 2-0 win over Romania in Cologne.

He set up the opening goal for Youri Tielemans in the second minute and was a constant threat to the Romanian defence, but his strike in the second half was ruled out by VAR for a marginal offside decision.

That came after he was twice denied by video reviews in Belgium's shock 1-0 loss to Slovakia.

Lukaku set a new European Championship record with 14 goals in qualifying but has not scored at a finals since Euro 2020, failing to fire at the 2022 World Cup after rushing back from an injury.

"It's probably not easy because it's his third goal that's disallowed, but I think it's unlucky when you see the offside," Theate told reporters on Sunday.

"It's very, very hard to accept because it's maybe one centimetre (offside), but I think he's in a good mindset.

"He's very important for us, he creates a lot of chances, a lot of spaces, so if he carries on and keeps going like this, I'm sure he will score a lot of goals."

All four teams in Group E are level on three points going into the final round of matches, the first time that has happened in the tournament's history.

Belgium take on Ukraine in Stuttgart on Wednesday, while Romania face Slovakia at the same time in Frankfurt.

"It's not easy. We knew this when we lost the first game against Slovakia, we're going to have to not lose anymore," said Theate, who returned alongside 37-year-old Jan Vertonghen in defence against Romania.

"We won yesterday so it's a great thing. Now we have to do the same thing on Wednesday. We just have to look at ourselves and do our job and then everything will be fine."