In Sochi, where more than 4,000 fans had travelled 7,200 miles Belgian supporters were outnumbered by Panama supporters. That passion was shown by their team also in the field. They have resisted for a while, competed too, but succumbed. Panam tried a lot harder to compete against the world no 3 side, but Belgium were invincible at the end. A wonderful volley from Dries Mertens and two goals from Romelu Lukaku completed the beating.
Belgium kick off their campaign with a win
Romelu Lukaku awarded with man of the match.
Panama held them at bay in a gritty first-half display
Goals from Mertens and Lukaku (2) secured the points
The first-half proceedings did not come as a major surprise, as Panama stuck together and worked for each other in building a wall that Belgium’s talented individuals were unable to breach. Panama managed to end the game at half time by 0 – 0. But a powerhouse Belgium scored 3 back-to-back goals at second half showing their quality to open up their world cup campaign with a comprehensive win.
Watch full highlights of Belgium Vs Panama FIFA World cup football match here:
At 47′ minute Mertens’s volley from the top right corner of area flew past Torres and Penedo gives belgium their first goal. “That gave us breathing space,” Martínez later said. Later Lukaku’s hard- work at the front was rewarded when he headed home Kevin De Bruyne’s brilliant pass off the outside off his foot to make it 2-0 in the 69th minute and the big striker latched on to an Eden Hazard pass to complete the scoring with a neat finish.
“I think we have learned a lot from today’s game. It was a very emotional day. This is the fifth time I’ve been at a World Cup but it felt like the first. The team was still very emotional at the start of the match but as time went by, they were able to focus better. It was an incredible experience for our country and I think that our performance was not bad. You’re never happy when you lose but I told my players that they lost with dignity.” – Hernan Dario Gomez, Panama coach
Ismael Diaz has become the only Panamanian to play in three different FIFA World Cup categories: U-17 in United Arab Emirates (2013), U-20 in New Zealand (2015) and now at senior level in Russia.
Belgium Looks Like a World Cup Heavyweight Against Panama. Lukaku has taken himself to within a goal of a certain Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the World Cup scoring chart.
See all goals details of Belgium Vs Panama FIFA World cup football match:
- 47′ : MERTENS (BELGIUM) SCORES!!
- What a goal! Amazing first-time volley from Mertens gives Belgium the lead. The perfect start to the second half for Roberto Martinez’s men.
- 69′ : R. LUKAKU (BELGIUM) SCORES!!
- Another great goal! Lovely approach play by Hazard, a superb outside-of-the-foot cross from De Bruyne and Lukaku dives in to head home. Terrific football from Belgium.
- 75′ : R. LUKAKU (BELGIUM) SCORES!!
- Another goal for Lukaku and another delightful Belgian move. De Bruyne and Witsel work the ball forward to Hazard, who in turn feeds Lukaku. The Manchester United striker then races clear and dinks a delicate finish over the advancing Penedo.
“I’m delighted. It was exactly what we expected – there are no easy games at the World Cup. We started very well but then became frustrated as the first half wore on. But I was delighted in the way the team reacted and the commitment everyone showed to keep a clean sheet. In the second half we found our composure and the goal from Dries Mertens, a great goal, was so important for us. In a World Cup, you have to play for 90 minutes and we had to be prepared to work hard, show maturity and real togetherness.” – Roberto Martinez, Belgium coach
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