If you were watching Belgium's second Group H match over the weekend, you will probably remember Romelu Lukaku's reaction upon being substituted off before the hour mark. If you weren't, or you don't remember, here is the first part of it; he was later shown petulantly mouthing off towards the coach from the bench as well.
Anyway, here's the important part: he's made amends. Which is a welcome change of pace from the general tone and attitude that comes across in his public comments.
"I talked to Romelu and it was a good chat. I know very well how he feels. The same thing happened to me in the 1994 World Cup. I didn't play in the first games and when I did get a start, I was too eager to prove myself."
"Neither Romelu nor myself were happy with the game he had and his reaction. He has apologised and for me that is the end of the story. I don't look back -- I look at the future. That is what interests me. Romelu trained well yesterday and looked happy. Every player wants to show himself in a World Cup but it is not going to change your life."
-Marc Wilmots; source: ESPN
So Wilmots puts part of the blame on the pressure of the situation, though I can't help but remember once again Lukaku's boasting of how much he loves pressure. Oh well, I suppose he's young. And sometimes dumb. And certainly full of... uh... complete strikeryness or something.
In any case, I'm actually very ok with the resolution to this little side-tantrum episode. Perhaps not pleased just due to the fact that it had to come to this, but it's cool. They hugged it out and can move on to being concerned about his general level of performance, and so we can move on as well to being more concerned about his general level of performance as well. Because even after all the nice words -- and these are quotes from Wednesday -- Lukaku ended up not playing at all against South Korea in Belgium's final group match on Thursday. Instead it was once again Divock Origi who managed to get involved in a goal.
Will the real Kraken please stand up?