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Romelu Lukaku Just Showed That There Is Space For Sportsmanship At The World Cup

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Romelu Lukaku Just Showed That There Is Space For Sportsmanship At The World Cup

We expect footballers to be more than a little devious on the field.

Not outright cheating - though that does obviously happen - but exaggerating when they've been fouled, appealing for every decision and generally trying to influence the referee are par for the course.

At the World Cup, where the stakes are as high as they can possibly be, the level of fair play tends to be at an absolute low, as nobody wants to give their opponents (or the ref) an inch.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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Well, sit tight and be prepared for a shock. A bout of fair play has broken out at the World Cup, courtesy of Belgium and Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku.

The big forward was playing this afternoon against Tunisia in Group H when he ran into the box, attempted to go around the Tunisian keeper and then fell to the ground.

It was a textbook example of a seen-them-given penalty, but Lukaku refused to appeal for the spot kick and then, in a move very rarely seen at the top level of football, actually went over to the referee and gestured that he hadn't been touched or at all fouled.

What a nice move - and it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

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Well, if we're playing devil's advocate, his team were 3-1 up at the time and he'd already scored once, so maybe he could afford to be sporting. Let's see him do it when the game is on the line, eh.

Credit: BBC
Credit: BBC

Lukaku has been making waves in the tournament through both his actions on the park - four goals in two games as Belgium eased into the Second Round - and through his off-field work, which has seen him pen an article for The Players' Tribune that has been critically acclaimed.

In it, Lukaku opens up about his childhood in Antwerp, Belgium, where his family were so poor that his mother would mix water into their milk to make it last longer.

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He also spoke of the racism that he endured as a black Belgian footballer and the struggles that he endured in order to make it as a professional.

It's a brilliant read that sheds light on the history of one of the standout stars of Russia 2018 so far - a man to be respected even more in the light of his actions on the field of play today.

Topics: Belgium, Russia 2018, World Cup

Mike Wood
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