Lukaku seals Belgium World Cup place with win in Greece

Erica Murray
September 6, 2017

Roberto Martinez's side has become the first European nation to secure a spot in next year's tournament, although hosts Russia, Brazil, Iran, Japan and Mexico have already secured their positions.

Belgium have 22 points from eight games in UEFA qualifying Group H, eight points ahead of second placed Bosnia-Herzegovina with two to play.

The Manchester United striker ensured Belgium a lead in the second half of the match to book a place in the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation.

At the 2014 World Cup the Belgian players banked €350,000 each, notwithstanding a relatively disappointing campaign that ended with a quarter-final defeat against Argentina.

Lukaku sent Belgium to the finals in Russian Federation next summer with an instant reply one minute later however, and he took great delight in the goal. There were a few that really stood up (Thibaut) Courtois, (Kevin) De Bruyne, Vertonghen, (Marouane) Fellaini.

The winners of the nine European groups qualify directly and the best eight runners-up play off for four more places. But the game was only about winning, it was like a cup final.

That has changed with the new agreement, but if Belgium were to win the World Cup in Russian Federation, the players will still bag a whopping 600,000 each. I had asked the team to win at all costs. We had to win, in whatever manner we could.

Sweden, who beat France 2-1 in June, are second after a resounding 4-0 win in Belarus with goals from Emil Forsberg, Christoffer Nyman, Marcus Berg and an Andreas Granqvist penalty.

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