Monday afternoon saw Belgium take on Panama at the Fisht Olympic Stadium as the first Group G game commence in the FIFA World Cup 2018.
Belgium came as one of the strongest sides in World Football as their players perform at the elite level of club sport.
Panama meanwhile looked to impress their fans as this is the first World Cup they qualified for.
Belgium started off the first 45 whizzing through the Panamanian half and adding pressure to the visitor’s back line.
Despite pushing forward with a handful of chances, the Red Devils failed to convert them.
Players like Dries Mertens, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku all had solid chances in the first half but they just couldn’t find their feet.
Mertens and De Bruyne, known for their quick feet and long shots, were just inches away from goal.
This is all while trying to feed Manchester United forward Romelu Lukaku with the balls necessary to make a breakthrough.
Even Eden Hazard was showing his pace on the field but he simply couldn’t put his shots on target.
Panama on the other hand, looked impressive on the counter attack for a team making their World Cup Debut.
Runs were being made into the Belgium half but they couldn’t get past the wall despite the amount of space that had been given.
What was most impressive in the first half was Panama’s defence as captain Roman Torres led the teams passion in the game.
The half ended 0-0.
Belgium looked to add more pressure in the second half in order to make up for the disappointing first.
GOAL – Dries Mertens – 47th Minute – Belgium 1-0 Panama
Napoli forward Mertens provided the opener for the Red Devils just two minutes in to the new half.
After the ball rebounded in the Panama box from an initial save, the small Belgian blasted the ball into the net on the volley.
A spectacular sight as the ball flew in like a rocket.
The goal was enough motivation for Belgium to boost their morale as the attack looked more fluid.
Despite this, the underdogs still looked strong on the ball, making runs into the Belgian half and cutting close to chance conversion.
Jan Vertonghen looked frustrated at how close his team were to conceding.
Belgium had plenty of chances from set pieces with De Bruyne taking free kicks.
Most of his attempts either met the Panama wall or was off target.
GOAL – Romelu Lukaku – 69th Minute – Belgium 2-0 Panama
Lukaku gets his first goal of the tournament after what had proven to be quite a difficult season at Man United.
De Bruyne crossed the ball in from the right hand side that connected to the big Belgian’s head and into the goal.
The referee had to use VAR just in case and the goal stood.
GOAL – Romelu Lukaku – 75th Minute – Belgium 3-0 Panama
Just six minutes after his first goal, Lukaku found his double.
The Red Devils made a break away on the counter with Axel Witsel providing a ball to Eden Hazard, who then ran up the pitch to provide a ball to Lukaku.
Lukaku then slotted the ball passed the keep to bring Belgium up three goals.
Even in certain defeat, Panama were close to scoring a goal as a ball was inches away from connecting to Luis Tejada in the 79th minute.
The match ended 3-0 to the hosts who played with the most possession overall.
Panama fans were buzzing in the stands throughout the game.
Source of Image: @FIFAWorldCup (Twitter)
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