The Belgian national setup have, on Saturday, confirmed that star striker Romelu Lukaku has departed Roberto Martinez’s squad.
France march on
Lukaku and co. were of course back in action earlier this week.
After Spain got the better of Italy in the first of two Nations League semi-final fixtures on Wednesday night, the Red Devils faced off with France, eyeing their own spot in the tournament’s finale.
When all was said and done, however, Belgium again came up short, in altogether heartbreaking circumstances.
Roberto Martinez’s men actually surged into a 2-goal advantage during the first-half, when the aforementioned Lukaku followed up Yannick Carrasco’s near post finish with a wonderful right-footed effort of his own:
🗣 “It’s a sensational piece of attacking play”
Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku puts Belgium 2-0 up in their #NationsLeague semi-final against France 🔥
📺 Watch live on SS Football
📱 Follow #BELFRA here 👉 https://t.co/xBRWT1ca7U pic.twitter.com/VrGNRPhV8W
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) October 7, 2021
World champions France, though, emerged for the 2nd-half looking like a completely different animal.
After Karim Benzema pulled one back courtesy of a fine finish on the turn just beyond the hour mark, the ever-involved Kylian Mbappe levelled the score from the penalty spot twenty minutes from time:
Benzema pulls one back for France! Game on! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Bqa9GCKrq7
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 7, 2021
Then, just minutes after Lukaku saw what looked set to prove the evening’s decider ruled out for offside, Les Bleus proved their mettle once more, bagging a brilliant winner courtesy of in-form AC Milan left-back Theo Hernandez.
France, in turn, marched on, ahead of a Nations League showpiece clash with Spain on Sunday evening.
Lukaku pulls out
For Belgium, on the other hand, another chance at a first-ever piece of major silverware has come and gone, with the Red Devils instead set to vie it out with Italy for 3rd place tomorrow afternoon.
And, as outlined above, ahead of the Turin showdown, the chances of Martinez and co. of securing a bounce-back victory have taken a hit.
This comes in the form of confirmation that star striker Romelu Lukaku has departed the nation’s camp.
UPDATE: @RomeluLukaku9 has left the camp this afternoon. #DEVILTIME
— Belgian Red Devils (@BelRedDevils) October 9, 2021
An explanation for the early return of ‘Big Rom’ to West London, meanwhile, has since too been forthcoming.
When drawn on the decision to release Lukaku, Roberto Martinez confirmed that, like Eden Hazard, the big-money summer arrival at Chelsea is suffering with ‘muscle fatigue’.
The Belgium boss went on to add that he is currently unaware of how long Lukaku will be sidelined for:
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez: “Romelu Lukaku is suffering from muscle fatigue, same as Eden Hazard. They’re not in best conditions to play. They’re leaving the national team camp due to these problems – I don’t know how long it will take”. 🔵🇧🇪 #Belgium #RealMadrid #CFC
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) October 9, 2021
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Premier League table
|6||Brighton & Hove Albion||7||3||14|
|9||West Ham United||7||4||11|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||6|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City||6|
|Antonio, Michail||West Ham United||5|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||4|
|Mane, Sadio||Liverpool FC||4|
|Maupay, Neal||Brighton & Hove Albion||4|
|Sarr, Ismaila||Watford FC||4|
|Townsend, Andros||Everton FC||3|
|Benrahma, Said||West Ham United||3|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur||3|
|Gray, Demarai||Everton FC||3|
|Ronaldo, Cristiano||Manchester United||3|
|Lukaku, Romelu||Chelsea FC||3|
|Calvert-Lewin, Dominic||Everton FC||3|
|Jota, Diogo||Liverpool FC||3|
|Hwang, Hee-chan||Wolverhampton Wanderers||3|
|Greenwood, Mason||Manchester United||3|
|Doucoure, Abdoulaye||Everton FC||2|
|Jesus, Gabriel||Manchester City||2|
|Player||Team||Red Cards||Yellow Cards|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||0||4|
|Skipp, Oliver||Tottenham Hotspur||0||4|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||0||3|
|Doucoure, Abdoulaye||Everton FC||0||3|
|Rice, Declan||West Ham United||0||3|
|Cooper, Liam||Leeds United||0||3|
|Norgaard, Christian||Brentford FC||0||3|
|Tarkowski, James||Burnley FC||0||3|
|Veltman, Joel||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||3|
|Brownhill, Josh||Burnley FC||0||3|
|Etebo, Oghenekaro||Watford FC||0||3|
|Djenepo, Moussa||Southampton FC||0||3|
|Antonio, Michail||West Ham United||0||1|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||0||2|
|Maupay, Neal||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||2|
|Jimenez, Raul||Wolverhampton Wanderers||0||2|
|Gallagher, Conor||Crystal Palace||0||2|
|Alonso, Marcos||Chelsea FC||0||2|
|Ward Prowse, James||Southampton FC||1||1|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||7|
|Doucoure, Abdoulaye||Everton FC||4|
|Jesus, Gabriel||Manchester City||4|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||3|
|Antonio, Michail||West Ham United||3|
|Saint-Maximin, Allan||Newcastle United||3|
|Kovacic, Mateo||Chelsea FC||3|
|Townsend, Andros||Everton FC||2|
|Benrahma, Said||West Ham United||2|
|Ings, Danny||Aston Villa||2|
|Toney, Ivan||Brentford FC||2|
|Jimenez, Raul||Wolverhampton Wanderers||2|
|Bamford, Patrick||Leeds United||2|
|James, Reece||Chelsea FC||2|
|Azpilicueta, Cesar||Chelsea FC||2|
|Gross, Pascal||Brighton & Hove Albion||2|
|King, Joshua||Watford FC||2|
|Pereira, Ricardo||Leicester City||2|
|Alexander-Arnold, Trent||Liverpool FC||2|
|Rice, Declan||West Ham United||2|