Lukaku hits hat trick, Socceroos held

ByAssociated Press ESPN logo
Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Romelu Lukaku scored a hat trick to lead Belgium 5-1 past Luxembourg in a World Cup warm-up game on Monday.

The triple boosted Lukaku's chances to be Belgium's striker at the World Cup after Christian Benteke withdrew injured almost two months ago. Belgium had gone four matches without a win.

Lukaku opened the score in the third minute, scrambled a second home in the 23rd and made it three with a solo effort in the 54th minute. The Everton forward was replaced on the hour.

Substitute Nacer Chadli added a fourth in the 71st minute and Kevin De Bruyne finished off with a penalty in the 90th. Luxembourg had earlier scored their only effort through Aurelien Joachim in the 13th minute.

Australia were held to a 1-1 draw by an understrength South Africa in their last international friendly on home soil before the World Cup.

More than 50,000 spectators were at Sydney's Olympic stadium expecting to send the Socceroos off with what should have been a straightforward win. Instead, it was Ayanda Patosi who opened the scoring for South Africa against the run of play in the 13th minute.

New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill scored the equaliser a minute later, extending his record as Australia's all-time leading international scorer, when he nodded in a header from Tommy Oar's well-placed cross. But it was one of the rare highlights in an Australian performance that was more notable for the problems in its inexperienced defence.

Striker Pierre Webo picked up a left shoulder injury while scoring Cameroon's first goal in a 2-0 victory over Macedonia in a warmup game.

Webo beat Macedonia goalkeeper Tome Pacovski with an acrobatic bicycle kick in the 52nd minute but landed on his arm and thus left the field immediately.

In the 84th, Maxim Choupo-Moting scored with a low shot after loose defending by Macedonia to double Cameroon's lead, without star striker Samuel Eto'o.

Russia started their World Cup preparations with a 1-0 win over Slovakia in St. Petersburg.

The match was a largely drab affair before Zenit St. Petersburg striker Alexander Kerzhakov nodded in debutant Maxim Kannunikov's cross on 82 minutes as the Slovakian defence failed to react.

Iran were held to 0-0 by Montenegro in a friendly for their second straight goalless draw in the buildup to the World Cup.

Iran, who played Belarus eight days ago, lost Hashem Beikzadeh early in the match. The defender limped off the field with an apparent right leg injury after 15 minutes.

Midfielder Ashkan Dejagah came closest for Iran with a curling free kick that forced Montenegro keeper Mladen Bozovic to a diving safe in the 28th minute, while captain Javad Nekounam saw his header go just wide in the 40th.