Belgium - Russia

Europe: European Championship
Belgium R. Lukaku (10), T. Meunier (34), R. Lukaku (88)
Saint Petersburg Stadium3-0Attendance: 26.264
Russia
Lineup

News Analysis: Dortmund's Meunier receives excellent opportunity to play himself into form

By Peter Vice

When Belgium's Timothy Castagne succumbed to injury early in his country's Euro opener against Russia on Saturday evening, Dortmund's Thomas Meunier took over on the right to pair axially with teammate Thorgan Hazard. 

It was not long before the two Schwarzgelben teammates engineered a goal. Meunier was able to bang home the rebound of a Hazard shot on the BVB co-production. 

Unfortunate news that Castagne will be sidelined for the duration of the continental championship may constitute a big opportunity for the Bundesliga wingback. 

Thomas Meunier.
Thomas Meunier.Photo: Borussia Dortmund

Few Dortmund fans would have conjectured that Thomas Meunier could play so well deployed high up the pitch until Saturday evening. The Belgium international brought in last summer to replace the deaparted Achraf Hakimi on the right never stood much of a chance of replicating the work of the Moroccan during the 2019/20 campaign. 


Meunier scored and recorded an assist in Belgium's 3-0 win over Russia in his country's Euro opener. His performance in red certainly surpassed many of those in Black and Yellow this year. Meunier at times played as more of straight right-back in Roberto Martinez's makeshift constellation, but spent a lot of time forward in a role reminiscent of that of Hakimi's. 

Should Martinez continue to use him as a flexible wingback throughout the tournament, the Rode Duivels' trainer may have inadvertently given incoming Dortmund trainer Marco Rose something to think about. The BVB will need someone reliable on the right following Lukasz Piszczek's retirement and Mateu Morey's long-term injury. 

After starting only three games in the second half of the season, Meunier reflected during an interview with sporting website Spox that the man on the pitch recently was "not the Thomas Meunier I know". A confidence boosting tournament, along with a continually successful partnership with Hazard, might help the 29-year-old recapture some of the form he exhibited at FC Brugge and PSG. 

Bundesliga watchers will certainly be keeping a close eye on a talented player who underperformed significantly in German football last year as the Euros progress.


Belgium
(3-4-3)
1Thibaut Courtois
2Toby Alderweireld
4Dedryck Boyata
5Jan Vertonghen (C) ↩76
21Timothy Castagne ↩27
19Leander Dendoncker
8Youri Tielemans
16Thorgan Hazard
14Dries Mertens ↩72
9Romelu Lukaku
11Yannick Carrasco ↩77
Bench
12Simon Mignolet
13Matz Sels
20Christian Benteke
23Michy Batshuayi
24Leandro Trossard
25Jeremy Doku
3Thomas Vermaelen ↪76
15Thomas Meunier ↪27
18Jason Denayer
10Eden Hazard ↪72
22Nacer Chadli
26Dennis Praet ↪77
Russia
(4-2-3-1)
1Anton Shunin
2Mário Fernandes
5Andrey Semenov
14Georgiy Dzhikiya
18Yuri Zhirkov ↩43
8Dmitriy Barinov ↩46
7Magomed Ozdoev
11Roman Zobnin ↩63
17Aleksandr Golovin
23Daler Kuzyaev ↩29
22Artem Dzyuba (C)
Bench
12Yury Dyupin
16Matvey Safonov
9Aleksandr Sobolev
10Anton Zabolotnyi
15Aleksey Miranchuk ↪63
19Rifat Zhemaletdinov
3Igor Diveev ↪46
4Vyacheslav Karavaev ↪43
24Roman Evgenyev
6Denis Cheryshev ↪29 ↩63
20Aleksey Ionov
26Maksim Mukhin ↪63

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