Belgium vs. Panama - Football Match Report

Belgium vs. Panama - Football Match Report

Tournament debutants Panama deservedly made it to half time unscathed, but Belgium's world-class talent showed with a flurry of high-quality goals in the second period. Panama is 55th and one of the longest shots to triumph in tournament history. Panama's players stayed on the field to salute the fans several minutes after the match ended.

Belgium gathered some storming momentum over the course of their two pre-tournament friendly matches prior to heading out to Russian Federation.

Just in case the recording failed, we kept a close eye on proceedings as Belgium eventually cruised to a 3-0 victory at the Fisht Olympic Stadium.

On the other hand, Belgium will have their focus fixed on the clash against England which could be a potential decider for the group victor later on.

Belgium started with a 3-4-3 formation with captain Eden Hazard and Napoli forward Dries Mertens playing support to Lukaku in the front.

The opening match in Group G promises to deliver a fascinating contrast of styles.

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

Belgium were expected to put daylight between themselves and the Central Americans, who are contesting their maiden World Cup finals. "It was historic what we went through here today". The power and movement of Lukaku will cause problems, and the two centre halves must hold firm against the Manchester United number nine.

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Eden Hazard was continually chopped at by Panama's aggressive defence and was a regular recipient of fouls. He read the play well to intercept a pass from Roman Torres, aimed at goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.

Roberto Martinez deployed two very similar sides in the two friendly matches against Egypt and Costa Rica ahead of the tournament in Russian Federation, both in terms of shape and personnel, and it appears he has found a winning formula which will likely provide the blueprint for Belgium at the World Cup. The 3-4-3 still remains a defensive approach though, and while it helps Martinez to include the likes of Carrasco in the team, it might still be hampering the team's attacking capabilities. Having stuck determinedly during his campaign with a three-man back line - bringing in Dedryck Boyata on Monday for the injured Vincent Kompany - Martinez shifted to four at the back near the end and would do so again. Belgium's "left-wingback" Yannick Carrasco is actually a left winger and would appear to have little idea how to defend.

The Belgians showcased an array of clever set-pieces and will be happy with their performance against a physical Panama side ahead of games against Tunisia and England, who meet in Volgograd later on Monday.

Panama boss, Hernan Gomez will, however, be managing his third World Cup with a third different team.

The Belgians start as favourites against a Panama team which was recently disrupted by a foot injury to winger Alberto Quintero.

Belgium dominated possession throughout the match to this point, seemingly missing opportunity after opportunity.

Panama, on the other hand, have an uphill battle on their hands to prove they could upset some of the well-established teams in their group and try as hard as possible to advance. "We have to have a hot body but cool mind".

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