Euro 2020 | Lukaku bags brace as Belgium beat Russia
Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Belgium defeated Russia 3-0 in Euro 2020's Group B clash at Saint Petersburg Stadium.
Lukaku opened the scoring in the 10th minute and added his second late on after defender Thomas Meunier had extended Belgium's lead in the 34th minute.
The Inter Milan striker has now scored 62 international goals for his country, including 20 in his last 15 matches for Roberto Martinez' men.
Lukaku dedicated his first goal to his Inter teammate Christian Eriksen, who collapsed during Denmark's 1-0 defeat to Finland IN Group B's earlier match, shouting "Chris, Chris, I love you" into the TV cameras.
Russia, who had home advantage despite appearing as the 'away' team, rarely threatened to upset FIFA's top-ranked team in Saint Petersburg.
Stanislav Cherchesov's hosts started with hunger and intensity, and it took Belgium several minutes to settle into the contest.
Lukaku fired the Red Devils into a 10th-minute lead with a sharp swivel and low left-footed strike after Russia defender Andrei Semyonov inadvertently played the striker onside by touching Dries Merten's cross.
Chances were otherwise few and far between in the opening half hour, but Belgium doubled their lead in the 34th minute.
Thorgan Hazard's bouncing shot from the left was parried by Russia goalkeeper Anton Shunin, and Meunier - who came on as a substitute to replace the injured Thomas Castagne - was on hand to side-foot the rebound into the bottom corner to make it 2-0.
Russia offered little signs of mounting a comeback in the second half, and Lukaku added Belgium's third in the 88th minute.
Meunier slalomed into midfield before threading an excellent ball through to Lukaku, who slid a first time right-footed finish past Shunin from 18 yards to cap off a comfortable win for Belgium.
Belgium are now unbeaten in 10 games in all competitions, while Lukaku's brace lifts him to 28th in the all-time top international goalscorer list.
Belgium head to Copenhagen to face Denmark on Thursday, with Russia and Finland set to lock horns in Saintt Petersburg on Wednesday.