ST. PETERSBURG, June 13. /TASS/. The national team of Belgium hammered Russia 3-0 in their 2020 UEFA Euro Cup opener in St. Petersburg on Saturday.
Romelu Lukaku (10th and 88th minutes) and Thomas Meunier (34th) scored for the winners.
The match was played in presence of 26,264 spectators.
St. Petersburg’ stadium has 68,134-seat capacity, but the European Championship matches can be watched by no more than 34 067 fans, which is 50% of the arena’s capacity. During the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup, the highest number of spectators rooted at the Russia vs Belgium match.
In the first half, Russia’s head coach Stanislav Cherchesov was forced to replace injured Daler Kuzyaev and Yuri Zhirkov with Denis Cheryshev and Vyacheslav Karavayev. Kuzyaev clashed heads with Belgium’s Timothy Castagne, who had to be substituted with Thomas Meunier.
At halftime, defender Igor Diveev replaced midfielder Dmitry Barinov, and in the 63rd minute Maksim Mukhin and Alexei Miranchuk hit the pitch as substitutes, instead of Roman Zobnin and Cheryshev.
Celebrating his first goal, Lukaku paid tribute to his Inter Milan teammate Christian Eriksen. The Danish midfielder collapsed on the pitch during the Group B opening match against Finland (0-1) and was rushed to hospital.
Belgium has received three points and topped the Group B standings. Russia is fourth on the table. In the next match, Russia will clash with Finland in St. Petersburg on June 16. Belgium will play Denmark in Copenhagen the following day,
2020 UEFA Euro Cup
Russia is set to embark on its journey for the UEFA Euro Cup by playing group stage matches against the national teams of Belgium (home on June 12), Finland (home on June 16) and Denmark (away on June 21).
On March 17, 2020, UEFA announced it was postponing the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup for exactly one year as a preventive measure against the ongoing global spread of the novel coronavirus.
The championship was rescheduled to be held between June 11 and July 11, 2021 and Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg was picked. It was among the 12 cities initially proposed in Europe to host the European championship’s matches. St. Petersburg was granted the right to host three group stage matches and one of the quarterfinals of the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup.
However, on April 23, St. Petersburg was granted the right to host three additional matches of the UEFA Euro Cup after Ireland’s Dublin and Spain’s Bilbao pulled out of the organization of the European football championship’s games citing anti-COVID-19 measures.
Following the pullout of Bilbao and Dublin from the list of the championship’s hosting cities, the rescheduled 2020 UEFA Euro Cup is now set to be staged in 11 cities, namely in London, England; Munich, Germany; Rome, Italy; Baku, Azerbaijan; St. Petersburg, Russia; Bucharest, Romania; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Budapest, Hungary; Glasgow, Scotland; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Seville, Spain.