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23 Jun 2018

World Cup 2018: Belgium vs Panama - 5 things we learned

World Cup 2018: Belgium vs Panama - 5 things we
learned

After Belgium's 5-2 victory over Tunisia, we look at what went right for Roberto Martinez and what went wrong for Nabil Maaloul.

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

After a comfortable 3-0 win in their opening game against Panama, all eyes were on Roberto Martinez’s men to see whether they could repeat their successes against Tunisia.

The Red Devils began brilliantly, scoring early through Eden Hazard who was brought down in the penalty box after only six minutes. 

Within ten minutes, Romelu Lukaku had followed suit, doubling Belgium's goal tally with a composed shot that found itself way into the back of Farouk Ben Mustapha's net. 

What appeared to be plain sailing was put on hold after Tunisia reared their collective head, getting a goal back through Dylan Bronn's sumptuous header from a free kick. 

As the second half ticked over into injury time, though, Lukaku added another buffer to the Belgian scoreline, running onto Thomas Meunier's through ball and chipping it delightfully over the advancing Ben Mustapha.

If there were any nerves on the part of the Belgians, they were eased in the second half by two unanswered goals from Hazard and Michy Batshuayi.

Belgium's victory sends a clear message to Gareth Southgate's men: they may yet be dark horses, giving some indication that they can gallop their way through to the latter stages of the tournament.

Here are five things we learned from today's game: