Belgium cruises to victory over Panama

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As was displayed with emphatic evidence against Egypt and Costa Rica prior to the start of the tournament, Belgium's attacking juggernaut is in rampant form and the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens will surely be desperate to kickstart their goal-scoring campaigns in Russian Federation against a Panama side who will struggle to contain the quality of Roberto Martinez's attacking stars.

The breakthrough finally came for Belgium in the second-half after Mertens converted a sumptuous volley off a glancing clearance that fell perfectly for him on 47 minutes. From there, Belgium were decidedly more relaxed and two goals from Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku put the gloss on what was an accomplished display from one of the sides tipped to reach the latter stages of the competition.

Belgium begin their World Cup campaign against Panama as the Red Devils will be looking to start on a winning note and kick-start their tournament. "You always have to impose yourself, you have to mark out your territory".

Lukaku had struggled to get into the game before his first goal - as had Kevin De Bruyne before that terrific assist - but his very presence means that he is a constant danger to opposition defences.

2018 World Cup match report Belgium v Panama 18 June 2018
Lukaku scores twice as Belgium thrash Panama | Sports World News 2018-06-18

"We started the game and the team was still very emotional", said Gomez.

"We don't want to take any credit away from Panama".

Frustrated and empty-handed at the break, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens returned reinvigorated, not least the Napoli man, who had the Belgium fans cheering when he fired a sumptuous volley past Jaime Penedo just two minutes into the second half. Those moments of isolated wizardry, however, are part of the problem. "We showed in this game that we can live at his level". Yannick Carrasco and Thomas Meunier provide the energetic wide outlets from their wing back roles. The team played the 3-4-3 formation - something Martinez has used since his club days at Wigan Athletic and Everton FC - throughout the qualifiers, so one isn't clear if Martinez has the tactical ability to tweak the team if being overpowered in the midfield. However, the bigger teams - ones who will properly test this defence - will be nowhere near as forgiving. A change to a 3-5-2 formation is likely against tougher opponents, but with Radja Nainggolan not in the squad, finding the right player to compliment both De Bruyne and Witsel will be a tough task. "I hope the second match goes better", the Spaniard added. If England defeat Tunisia and Panama, the result against Belgium probably won't stop them progressing to the Round of 16. Panama's lack of precision ultimately cost them dear.

The FIFA World Cup 2018 Belgium vs Panama match will take place on Monday, June 18, 2018.

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