Published: Tue, June 19, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Belgium's Dries Mertens scores off incredible volley and Twitter loses it

Belgium's Dries Mertens scores off incredible volley and Twitter loses it

- Each of the last 11 goals that Belgium have scored in World Cup matches have come after half-time.

Saddled with massive expectations and a lineup of talent the envy of others in the tournament, Belgium finally showed flashes of being the dominant team worthy of title consideration. They do have to face the likes of England and Tunisia after the Belgium game, but a positive start could do wonders for any team like Panama. His players bring solid worldwide experience as well, with the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil and UEFA EURO 2016 under their belts, and they now hope to reach a whole new level in Russian Federation.

Radja Nainggolan was a high profile exclusion by roberto Martinez when he announced the final Belgium squad for the World Cup.

Having Dries Mertens and Romelu Lukaku capable of scoring the way they did against Panama helps. Adolfo Machado will likely line up at right back for Panama and must be disciplined and tuck in to support his central partners to ensure that his side do not fall victim to Hazard's old tricks. Lukaku dives from a cross from Kevin De Bruyne to give his team the 2-0 lead.

Panama lined up with a team of journeymen featuring five 30-somethings.

"That first win in the World Cup is always a special moment".

The game took a physical turn in the final minutes, but did little to deter the Belgians from securing a comfortable first victory in Group G, while Panama endured a forgettable debut.

Another of Belgium's Premier League stars provided Lukaku with his second as Chelsea playmaker Hazard burst forward on the counter and released the 25-year-old for a deft chip over Penedo - his 38th worldwide goal in 70 caps.

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

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

What time does the FIFA World Cup 2018 Belgium vs Panama match begin in IST? Eden Hazard is their talisman in attack and will have to take up more responsibility in Russian Federation.

Hazard fired wide in the 26th minute and the Chelsea forward, who hinted pre-match he could be interested in joining Real Madrid, was left hobbling by heavy challenges from Murillo and Torres.

It feels like every single game has had a cracker of a goal - which patently isn't true - but thankfully for those of us watching every single game imaginable, there was one in Belgium's tie against Panama.

On paper this game should be a canter for Belgium. However, the Red Devils were ultimately too strong to stop.

Matters depreciated for them as Lukaku delicately chipped an advancing Penedo following a swift counterattack instigated by Hazard to round off an opening day win in Group G.

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.

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