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The law of assists should be reinvented for Romelu Lukaku’s role in Belgium’s winner

The Man United forward was erratic with his finishing but his vision for Belgium's third was genius

For the first 92 minutes against Japan it’s safe to say Romelu Lukaku was having a bit of a stinker.

Everton and Man United fans will be familiar with the type of wayward finishing too often in Lukaku’s locker on the big occasions.

Over and over again the United hitman fluffed his lines, either heading wide when well placed or losing possession too cheaply.


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One of those days?

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One of those days?

But he came up with not only one but two match-winning interventions in virtually the final play of the game.

With Japan committing a host of players forward for a corner in injury time, Belgium were able to launch a swift counter attack.

Kevin De Bruyne carried the ball over halfway but required a bit of movement in front of him for something to materialise.

Enter Lukaku.

With Thomas Meunier galloping on the overlap, Lukaku dragged his marker inside to create space for his fullback to run into and collect De Bruyne’s through ball.

Lukaku, in the bottom left of your screen, begins his run from wide to the centre

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Lukaku, in the bottom left of your screen, begins his run from wide to the centre

His run creates space for Meunier to run in two

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His run creates space for Meunier to run in two

Meunier then fires in a low cross which Lukaku steps over

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Meunier then fires in a low cross which Lukaku steps over

Allowing Chadli to tap in to give Belgium victory

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Allowing Chadli to tap in to give Belgium victory

Then, with Meunier seeking an option in the box, the Red Devils star had the awareness to dummy the cross knowing Nacer Chadli was running in behind to tap into a virtually unguarded net.

For those of you that still think centre-forward play is solely defined by sheer goalscoring output, just drink this all in.

Ecstasy in the end

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Ecstasy in the end

Lukaku was utterly pants in front of goal himself but his spatial awareness is the reason Belgium are in the quarter-finals and not going home early.

Can we change the law of assists and credit him with two for Chadli’s goal?