Belgium cruise on Lukaku's hat-trick, Russia win
© AFP

Romelu Lukaku bagged a hat-trick as Belgium began their FIFA World Cup™ preparations by trouncing minnows Luxembourg 5-1 in Genk. The Chelsea striker, who is expected to lead Belgium's forward line in Brazil in the absence of the injured Christian Benteke, was in fine fettle as he opened the scoring in the third minute and then netted his side's second and third goals either side of half-time.

Luxembourg had threatened a shock when they levelled matters through Aurelien Joachim in the tenth minute, but Lukaku's double put Belgium back in control, while second-half substitute Nacer Chadli's 71st minute strike and Kevin de Bruyne's last-gasp penalty added a flourish to proceedings.

Stand-in captain Tim Cahill scored the equaliser as Australia drew 1-1 at home to South Africa in their final outing before the World Cup travelling party is selected. Cahill, given the armband in the absence of the injured Crystal Palace midfielder Mile Jedinak, headed in Tommy Oar's cross moments after Ayanda Patosi had converted a rebound from Tokelo Rantie's 12th-minute shot in Sydney's ANZ Stadium.

Russia also made a good start to their summer as Alexandr Kerzhakov's goal eight minutes from time gave them a 1-0 victory over Slovakia. Second-half goals from Pierre Webo and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting helped Cameroon to a 2-0 over Macedonia in Kufstein, Austria, while Iran were held to a goalless draw by Montenegro in Hartberg, also in Austria.