Romelu Lukaku is back! Out-of-sorts Inter striker bags a hat-trick as Belgium brush aside Sweden in first game of Domenico Tedesco era

Lukaku celebrates one of his goalsGetty
  • Lukaku clinical to give Tedesco win in first match
  • Striker's Belgium tally now 71 goals in 105 games
  • Sub Ibrahimovic, 41, breaks age record

TELL ME MORE: Belgium bounced back impressively following their disastrous World Cup campaign – and the departure of Roberto Martinez as manager – with Lukaku in inspired form up front. The Inter man broke the deadlock with a first half header and added two more with his left foot after the break.

He was afforded too much space by the Sweden defenders on too many occasions, with Sweden paying the price for squandering some big chances on the break through Dejan Kulusevski. But despite the pressure, the home side never threatened a comeback, as Tedesco's tenure in charge of the Red Devils got off to a blinder.

THE MVP: Lukaku, as he so often does for Belgium regardless of his club form, bent the game to his will. His three goals in this game match his Serie A tally for Inter for the whole season. Nerazzurri fans will be hoping the on-loan forward truly is 'back', and that he can translate this form into the business end of the season before returning to parent club Chelsea.

THE BIG LOSER: Kulusevski looked bright at times, but he was profiligate in front of goal and he, along with Alexander Isak, have to start shouldering more responsibility. Although Zlatan Ibrahimovic made history when he came on in the 73rd minute of this game – becoming oldest player ever to feature in European Championship qualifier – Sweden need new men to rely on.


WHAT NEXT? After his first outing as Belgium manager, former Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund boss Tedesco faces the country in which he grew up from the age of two – a huge friendly clash against Germany on March 28. Austria, Estonia and Azerbaijan are the other nations in this Euro 2024 qualifying group.