Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Belgium proved too good for World Cup debutants Panama in the opening match in England’s Group G.
By Sports Reporter
After a goalless first half, Belgium, ranked third in the world, finally broke Panama’s resistance when Dries Mertens steered in a spectacular volley.
Panama, 55th in the rankings, had a chance to snatch an equaliser but Thibaut Courtois was quick off his line to save Michael Murillo’s shot with his legs.
Manchester United striker Lukaku made certain of the victory as he scored with a diving header after an exquisite pass from Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne with the outside of his boot.
Lukaku then added a third with a chipped finish after a fine through ball from Chelsea’s Eden Hazard.
Belgium take on Tunisia in their second match on Saturday, 23 June (13:00 BST), before Panama are England’s second opponents a day later (13:00 BST).
Meanwhile, Gareth Southgate’s side beat Tunisia by 2 goals to nil courtesy of Harry Kane’s two goals in Volgograd.
Team Played Pts. Goals for: Against
BEL 1 3 3 : 0
ENG 1 3 2 : 1
TUN 1 0 1 : 2
PAN 1 0 0 : 3
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