Belgium 4 Costa Rica 1: Lukaku stars as Red Devils cut loose

Belgium fought back from a goal down in Brussels as Romelu Lukaku inspired a resounding victory over Costa Rica.

Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku   -  Getty Images

Romelu Lukaku scored two goals and set up another as Belgium wrapped up their preparations for the World Cup with a resounding 4-1 win over Costa Rica in Brussels.

Roberto Martinez's side conceded for the first time in 2018 but fought back impressively in their final friendly before the tournament, in the process extending their unbeaten run to 19 matches.

Costa Rica went ahead at the King Baudouin Stadium when Bryan Ruiz capitalised on a poor clearance from Jan Vertonghen to volley home from the edge of the penalty area.

However, Dries Mertens grabbed an equaliser from close range before setting up a second for Romelu Lukaku, who volleyed home his team-mate's cross with his right foot.

The Manchester United striker used his head to convert substitute Nacer Chadli's delivery after the break and then unselfishly set up Michy Batshuayi for the home side's fourth and final goal.

Yet victory potentially came at a cost for Belgium, with Mertens and Eden Hazard both leaving the field with injuries, a worrying sight ahead of their Group G opener against Panama on June 18.

Costa Rica took the lead with their only on-target effort of the first half when Vertonghen inadvertently teed up Ruiz – an unused substitute in the friendlies against Northern Ireland and England – in the 24th minute.

The Belgium defender's header as he back-pedalled towards his own goal dropped kindly to the waiting Ruiz, who sent a low, left-footed volley beyond the diving Thibault Courtois.

Los Ticos' advantage lasted only seven minutes, though. Hazard's driven low ball from the right zipped across the face of the penalty area paid off to reach the late-arriving Mertens, who provided the finishing touch at the back post.

Mertens turned provider for Belgium's second before the break, sending in a right-wing cross that Lukaku – who had seen an earlier on-target attempt kept out by Keylor Navas' face – turned home.

It was Chadli who provided the centre from the same flank for Lukaku to score his second five minutes into the second half, though he surprisingly passed up the opportunity to grab a hat-trick soon after, instead squaring the ball across for Batshuayi to tap home.

Lukaku was withdrawn immediately after the goal by Martinez, who watched Hazard worryingly limp off with 20 minutes to play, spoiling an otherwise solid workout before they head to Russia.

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