A Romelu Lukaku brace and a Thomas Meunier goal saw Belgium start their Euro 2020 campaign with a 3-0 win against Russia in St Petersburg on Saturday evening.
Lukaku and Meunier struck in the first half as the Red Devils raced into a 2-0 lead against the hosts before the Belgian number nine sealed the win with a third late on.
The opening chance brought the opening goal after 11 minutes as Dries Mertens played a low ball in from the right.
Andrei Semyonov messed up his clearance, playing Lukaku onside in the process. The Inter Milan forward then went onto finish coolly past Anton Shunin to put his side ahead.
Russia could have equalised six minutes later, but Magoem Ozdoev fired safely wide of Courtois’ goal after a knock down from Artem Dzyuba.
Leander Dendonker had a gilt-edged opportunity to double Belgium’s lead moments later, as Lukaku played the ball across to the Wolves midfielder.
Dendoncker fired over from eight yards, however, when he really should have scored.
Another mix up in the Russian defence handed Thorgan Hazard a chance to make it 2-0 after 23 minutes, but the Dortmund man was denied by Shunin from close range.
A couple of injuries forced both managers into first half substitutions with full-back Meunier one man to be introduced.
He took advantage of a loose ball after Shunin palmed Hazard’s cross in his direction. The defender the controlled the ball before passing the ball into the bottom corner.
Yannick Carrasco fashioned a chance out of nothing deep in first half stoppage time, as he beat three Russian players, but he shot just over from close range.
Russia came out for the second half eager to make their mark. The first chance of the second half came via a long range effort from Roman Zobnin who fired safely over from 30 yards.
The remainder of the second half consisted of Belgium running down the clock, but Lukaku was on hand to get his second and Belgium’s third with two minutes to go.
Meunier drifted inside before playing Lukaku through on goal and the ex-Manchester United man made no mistake in firing the ball past Shunin in the Russia goal.
Next up for Belgium is a trip to Copenhagen to take on Denmark next Thursday, while Russia host Finland in St Petersburg on Wednesday.
Belgium: Thibaut Courtois; Dedryck Boyata, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen (c) (Thomas Vermaelen 76); Leander Dendoncker, Timothy Castagne (Thomas Meunier 28), Thorgan Hazard, Youri Tielemans; Yannick Ferreira Carrasco (Dennis Praet 76), Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens (Eden Hazard 71).
Subs not used: Jeremy Doku, Jason Denayer, Nacer Chadli, Christian Benteke, Michy Batshuayi, Simon Mignolet, Matz Sels, Leandro Trossard.
Russia: Anton Shunin; Yuri Zhirkov (Vyacheslav Karaveyev 43), Andrei Semyonov, Mario Fernandes, Georgy Dzhikya; Roman Zobnin (Maksim Mukhin 63), Magomed Ozdoev, Daler Kuzyaev (Denis Cheryshev 30), Aleksandr Golovin, Dmitri Barinov (Igor Diveev 46); Artem Dzyuba (c).
Subs not used: Rifat Zhemaletdinov, Anton Zabolotny, Aleksandr Sobolev, Matvei Safonov, Aleksei Ionov, Roman Evgenyev, Yuri Dyupin .
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz.
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Romelu Lukaku (Belgium).