Lukaku, De Bruyne lead Belgium past Germany for first time since 1954

Romelu Lukaku, center, celebrates after scoring a goal for Belgium against Germany in a friendly.
Romelu Lukaku, center, celebrates after scoring a goal for Belgium against Germany in a friendly.
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Visitors Belgium battled to a 3-2 win over Germany in a friendly on Tuesday to make it two wins from two matches in the past four days and earning a win over the Euro 2024 hosts for the first time since 1954.

With both teams eager to bounce back from their shock group stage World Cup exits in December, it was Belgium who were the better side, attacking at will and completely outclassing Germany in the first half.

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They visitors took the lead at the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne with a superb five-pass move from deep in their own half as Yannick Carrasco, unmarked and with lots of space on the left rifled home in the sixth minute.

Before the hosts had any time to recover, Belgium struck again after some more woeful German defending, with Kevin De Bruyne slipping the ball through to Romelu Lukaku to finish from inside the box.

The Belgium striker had also scored a hat trick in their 3-0 win over Sweden in their opening Group F Euro 2024 qualifier on Friday and he could have added another goal in the 20th when he rattled the bar with a powerful header.

The Germans, who beat Peru 2-0 on Saturday in their first international since their World Cup exit in Qatar, earned a penalty on the stroke of half-time and forward Niclas Fullkrug converted for his sixth goal in six international matches.

Despite a livelier second half, the hosts conceded a third as De Bruyne finished from another swift Belgium move as the German defence was caught napping once more.

Serge Gnabry cut the deficit in the 88th minute, but it was not enough to deny new Belgium coach Domenico Tedesco a second win from two matches.

"We were far too passive and did not put them under any pressure," said Germany coach Hansi Flick. "Belgium used this mercilessly. We had to change things around a bit to find stability.

"You could see that we have a lot of work in front of us. We want to be more active and we did it better after about 30 minutes. For us, with an eye on the future, that's where we have to work on. For everyone to work together."