Published: Tue, June 19, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Belgium V Panama: Thomas Vermaelen And Vincent Kompany Miss Out

Belgium V Panama: Thomas Vermaelen And Vincent Kompany Miss Out

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.

After 12 minutes, a poor pass from Fidel Escobar to Penedo alerted Hazard who pounced with a quick shot that riddled into the side-netting.

Despite Panama's best albeit few efforts, Belgium began to run away with it as De Bruyne showed his quality with a beautifully weighted cross to the noggin of Lukaku to casually nod it home for Belgium's second.

The opening goal came as a relief to the Belgians, who have seen other favourites struggle against well-organised opponents in the opening round of World Cup games.

A moment of inspiration from Dries Mertens set the Belgians on their way two minutes after the break, his volley breaking the deadlock after a rather flat first period.

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Moments earlier, Viktor Claesson was taken down by Kim Min-woo in the box, but referee Joel Aguilar initially let the play continue.

That was until Mertens relieved the pressure growing on the Red Devils with a skilful volley on 47 minutes, instinctively lifting the ball over Penedo and inside the far post after Panama had squandered several chances to clear.

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Manchester United striker Lukaku made certain of the victory as he scored with a diving header after an exquisite pass from Kevin de Bruyne with the outside of his boot. "There is a bigger gulf between Belgium and Panama".

Sometimes, it's easy to take for granted how outrageously coordinated these players are.

Belgium are Unbeaten in their last nine World Cup group games. It's the first World Cup for this team and it would be considered a major success if the side can earn a point in group play. Fans cried at hearing their national anthem and the players on the field fought their own emotions while singing. His presence will support Dries Mertens and Romelu Lukaku to play a significant role in getting the all-important goals for the team, starting against Panama.

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Luminaries like Panama President Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez and baseball star Mariano Rivera were in attendance. They would have just preferred something a little less challenging than one of the pre-tournament favourites. "It was historic what we went through here today".

Even if it wasn't pretty for a half, Belgium did what it was supposed to do in Group G. The victory keeps the team on track for its final group match against England, which is likely to determine the top spot.

The third goal was a reminder for England that they must stick to their gameplan and not overcommit, leaving space in behind will only exacerbate the dangers posed by Hazard's pace and the power of Lukaku.

Mertens' superb opening goal kicked Belgium into action against Panama.

Eden Hazard was continually chopped at by Panama's aggressive defence and was a regular recipient of fouls.

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