Belgium vs. Panama - Football Match Report


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.

Belgium impressed in an unbeaten qualifying campaign, becoming the first European nation to book their place at Russian Federation 2018.

"Belgium come into this tournament ranked number three in the world, you expect them to go deep against a Spain and a Germany where you may only get one or two chances".

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.

Similarly in defence, the three-man backline was custom-made for the experienced trio of Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Vincent Kompany.

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Belgium started with a 3-4-3 formation with captain Eden Hazard and Napoli forward Dries Mertens playing support to Lukaku in the front. "We grew in the second half and now we have to take it to the next game and grow into that".

Panama soon reverted to the same stubbornness they showed in the first half and they came close to drawing level when Fernando Murillo got out wide to bring the best out of Courtois, who saved easily. However, Roman Torres is back for Panama after recovering from a hamstring injury. Jaime Penedo will start between the post for the Central Americans, while Escobar, Torres and Machado will lead the central defensive line for them.

The opposite applies with Belgium - where there will be threats coming at the English defence from all angles. "Everyone took his responsibility".

At the other end, Panama tried to expose Belgium's potential weaknesses at full-back.

The World Cup match between Belgium and Panama will be broadcast live on FS1. The Panamanians scored just nine in 10 qualifiers, and they arrived in Russian Federation after scoring just one goal in their last five matches.

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This would be Panama's first ever World Cup appearance.

Along with Iceland, Panama are the other team this time around taking their World Cup bow.

It was a fine run by Eden Hazard too that set him up.

"They're both very different, Belgium and England", said Penedo. Martinez said the amount of hits Hazard took is a concern. "I had a nice assist when I passed to Romelu and it was a nice performance for me and the team".

The odds are apparently in favour of Belgium heading into this game. The presence of high profile names in every area of the pitch for Belgium will be enough to see them through and win against Panama comprehensively. "Panama, as we expected, played very organised, very well-drilled (but) we were patient", Belgium coach Roberto Martinez told reporters.

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