FIFA WC 2018: Belgium thrash debutants Panama 3-0

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SOCHI (RUSSIA): Striker Romelu Lukaku's double blow and winger Dries Mertens' stunning volley gave Belgium a perfect start to their journey at the 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup.

 

The performance helped Belgium defeat debutants Panama 3-0 at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi on Monday.

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

Though Roberto Martinez's side struggled to break Panama down in a flat first half, Mertens broke the deadlock in the 47th minute of the game, taking his side to a 1-0 lead.

Soon, Lukaku scored twice in the 69th and 75th minute.

Panama almost mustered a rapid leveller, but Thibaut Courtois made a smart stop to keep out a low strike from Michael Murillo, before Lukaku struck twice in six minutes to settle the contest.

For his first goal, Lukaku nodded in a sensational pass by Kevin De Bruyne.

The Manchester United striker then scored a cute chip, making it almost impossible for Panama to return in the game.

The last few minutes saw Panama trying hard to make something out.

The result means Belgium now have three points from one game while Panama is still to open its account. Belgium take on Tunisia next while Panama will face England. (ANI)

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