Thus far, Romelu Lukaku’s world cup has been anything but the one many would have expected. The powerful, dominant displays he showed for Everton have been strangely lacking in Brazil, and he has looked a frustrated figure in the red of Belgium.
In Belgium’s first group game against Algeria, Lukaku did not even register a single touch in the opposition half. This is a worrying statistic for Chelsea fans.
Belgium were many people’s tip to be the surprise package of the World Cup, but their performances so far have not been befitting of such promise. Lukaku’s poor performances have in large part been down to Belgium’s inability to support him in attack. He has looked isolated and a lone figure, often chasing lost causes and rarely receiving the ball to feet. It is hard to remember many chances which have fallen to him.
Lukaku’s replacement in both games, Divock Origi, has been the better of the two strikers in both games. However, Origi performances have been aided by Lukaku. Lukaku’s running and chasing sapped the energy out of the opposition defence in both games, and the pacy Origi has capitalised on this.
Furthermore, in the latter moments of both games, Algeria and Russia have pushed forward in the search of goals. This has opened up the space which Origi has been able to exploit. Maybe Lukaku would have performed at a similar level to Origi, had he and not Origi been the substitute.
Many Blues fans will be questioning whether Lukaku is a top class striker, and whether he warrants a first-team place at Chelsea. His performances so far in Brazil do raise questions. The World Cup is football at the highest level, and currently he is not delivering, in spite of the failings of the Belgian side as a whole.
Nevertheless, it is evident that Lukaku is a quality striker, as has been demonstrated by his performances at Everton.
We have not reached the knockout stages yet, and perhaps it will be then that Lukaku begins to shine. If Belgium improve, so should Lukaku. Also, we should not forget Lukaku is only 21. Hopefully in the years to come, Chelsea will reap the benefits of the big Belgian’s full potential.