An emotional Romelu Lukaku took out his frustration on the Belgian dugout after he missed three sitters as his country crashed out of the World Cup.
Belgium needed to beat Croatia to reach the last-16 at the World Cup, but they were held to a goalless draw – though Lukaku had some golden opportunities to send Roberto Martinez’s side through to the knock-out stage.
After the final whistle, Lukaku punched the dugout – breaking the plexiglas window – and had to be consoled by Belgium’s coaching staff including Thierry Henry.
The Inter Milan striker, on loan from Chelsea, was then in tears as he went down the tunnel.
Lukaku has struggled with injuries going into the World Cup and was not fit enough to start against Croatia – only entering the fray at half-time as Belgium teetered on the brink of elimination.
Within minutes he fired a right-footed shot off the post when presented with an open goal to begin his horrible second-half of misses.
Not long after he headed over the crossbar from six years out when the goal was gaping – though the goal wouldn’t have counted as Kevin De Bruyne’s cross had gone out of play.
The 29-year-old then flicked an effort wide from four yards late on when the ball arrived at him quickly.
Then the the biggest miss came Thorgan Hazard sent a cross to the far post with Lukaku – three yards out – mis-controlling the ball on his chest and allowing the chance to go begging.
BBC Sport pundits felt sympathy for Lukaku, believing that he wasn’t ready to play against Croatia.
Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba said in regards to Lukaku punching the dugout: ‘He is frustrated not only because he missed the goal but because of the spirit of the team during this tournament. All the talk of fights between players. This is what he will be frustrated by more than the missed chances’
He added: ‘We cannot put the blame on someone who has been injured for two months. As a striker he should have been more on his toes, but you can’t blame him.’
His fellow BBC pundit Alan Shearer added: ‘It will hurt him. He was nowhere near ready, otherwise they would have started him. He gave them a focal point. His lack of game time has hurt them.’
Drogba added: ‘You need more games to find the rhythm. If they were a positive team, with a positive energy, I wonder whether one of these chances would have gone in.’
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