Belgium beat Panama with two moments of individual brilliance


Belgium are now unbeaten in 20 matches, although the nature of the first-half performance against weak opposition showed that Martinez's men still have significant progress to make if they are to improve on quarter-final appearances at the last two major tournaments.

Here are three observations from the Group G encounter.

A front-three consisting of Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens were bound to pose problems for their unfancied opponents.

Panama captain Roman Torres did his best to repel Belgium's attacks during his side's 3-0 defeat on June 18.

Belgium, though, have class in abundance and Panama rode their luck as Yannick Carrasco and Mertens squandered good opportunities in the first seven minutes.

Belgium will try not to become the latest higher ranked soccer team to stumble in their first Group play game when they take on Panama Tuesday in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

"They're both very different, Belgium and England", said Penedo.

A comfortable 3-0 dispatching of Egypt was followed up by a resounding 4-1 win over Costa Rica. Belgium are now desperate for an opener after 32 minuites as the game is inching towards the half-time. The Reds had enough firepower to ease past Panama but tougher challenges still remain for the Red Devils.

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The World Cup match between Belgium and Panama will be broadcast live on FS1. With the other favorites not particularly impressing in their opening match, with just a single win shared among the established elite, Belgium manager, Roberto Martinez, will look at their match up against Panama as a chance to lay the gauntlet down and announce that Belgium as a genuine threat.

But from the moment the Panamanian fans belted out their national anthem, there was a feeling that this might not be the easy ride for Belgium that many had predicted.

A 3-4-2-1 system has proved effective, providing an ideal balance between defensive resolve and attacking potential. Having stuck determinedly during his campaign with a three-man back line - bringing in Dedryck Boyata on Monday for the injured Vincent Kompany - Martinez shifted to four at the back near the end and would do so again.

Hernan Gomez has selected his best squad ahead of the world cup.

Defender Roman Torres scored the goal which booked Panama's ticket to Russian Federation but the defender almost lost his national hero status when his short back-pass gifted Eden Hazard a golden opportunity which he failed to convert from a tight angle on 12 minutes.

The Los Canaleros are in the tournament with modest ambitions - learn from the football mega-event, and make a little bit of history such as scoring a goal or keeping a clean-sheet.

"My worry is that maybe in one of those tackles we're going to lose the opportunity to enjoy the quality of a player like Eden Hazard", Martinez said.

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