Belgium live up to hype with 3-0 win over Panama

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After a goalless first half, Belgium ranked third in the world, finally broke Panama's resistance when Dries Mertens steered in a spectacular volley.

Lukaku then came up with goals in the 69th and 75th to give Belgium a dream start and justify their ratings as one of the favourites for the top prize in Russian Federation.

Panama are in Group G alongside Belgium, England and Tunisia.

Gomez said Panama won't be trying anything but defending against the talented Belgians, and admitted that scoring goals has been a weakness of his team entering the tournament. While he and his teams suffered group stage exits in those competitions, they were only narrowly undone and, as he showed on Monday, his Panama team will be well-organised and determined in defence.

The Man of the Match in these games will receive ratings boost on Federation Internationale de Football Association 18's World Cup Ultimate Team mode, so RealSport predicts which men are most likely to pick up the prize.

Even though neither player will be fit for the opening game, Belgium chose to send standby defender Laurent Ciman home on Saturday.

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Ronaldo and Messi have been soccer's top players for the past decade and rivals in the Spanish league. Ronaldo's third goal at Fisht Stadium was a remarkable 88th-minute free kick that salvaged the draw.


Ten minutes later, striker Lukaku failed to react quickly to divert the ball home after playmaker Kevin de Bruyne delightful cut back into the danger area, before Panama's captain Torres made a sliding tackle to take the ball away from Lukaku's reach. If you wish to report any comment, simply click on the down arrow next to the offending comment and click "Report".

Not much was known on European shores about Panama's style of play when they confirmed their place in Russian Federation, although three wins in ten qualification matches suggest they are hardly a free-flowing side. "Even though we thought he'd have a good opportunity to be involved in the group phase I think now he's not got a stronger opportunity", Martinez said.

"Now we already know what it's like to play in the World Cup", Gabriel Gomez said.

Here are the highlights from day five at the World Cup. "Look at his age, and he is the captain, in terms of leadership - he never finds it hard to show for the ball", he said.

"We can be an example and leave a legacy in Panama for future World Cups", Gomez added.

Courtois, however, did not go as far during his pre-game news conference at Fisht Stadium in Sochi on Sunday. But they are unbeaten in 19 matches under Martinez and are among the favourites to go far at the World Cup. It was also no more than they deserved against a Korea Republic side that ended the match without having registered a single shot on target.

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