FIFA World Cup 2018: Belgium vs. Panama (Everything about the Match)

This is the 13th of the match currently being played in the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia.

Date & Time:
Monday, 18 June, 2018; Belgium vs. Panama will slug it out in the Group G round at 4 p.m. BST/11 a.m. ET

Commentary

Score:

Full-Time: Belgium 3 – 0 Panama

90′ + 4′ FULL-TIME: BELGIUM 3-0 PANAMA
90′ + 2′ Cooper is down with cramp for Panama, but Belgium play on, with Hazard finding Lukaku over the top. He throws himself to the floor as he’s challenged, but the referee waves play on, and then a spectacular effort from inside the Panama half forces Courtois to tip the ball behind! However, the referee has already awarded a free-kick.
90′ Witsel is replaced by Chadli in Belgium’s third and final change.
90′ There will be four minutes of added time here. Can Panama find a consolation? Or could Belgium grab a fourth?
89′ SAVE! It’s driven at goal from the left towards the bottom corner, but Courtois is able to make a comfortable stop.

88′ De Bruyne picks up a yellow for a high boot, catching his man as he attempted to win the ball. Escobar stands over the free-kick for Panama.
87′ Belgium seem like they’re happy with their day’s work as they allow Panama to attack them, and Murillo curls in an enticing cross that just evades his team-mates in the box!
85′ SAVE! Courtois comes out really quickly to grab the ball off the toes of a Panama forward as they find a way behind the Belgium rear-guard, and it’s an excellent stop, but the flag is up for offside anyway.
83′ Mertens, whose sublime opening goal seemed to relax his side a little, comes off for Thorgan Hazard, the captain’s younger brother.
82′ Another free-kick is won on the edge of the box and just to the left. Hazard takes this time, but his effort can only find the wall, and is deflected away to safety.
80′ OFFSIDE! Lukaku plays Meunier in behind this time with a clever reverse pass, but the flag goes up, albeit belatedly, for offside.

78′ Lukaku gets the ball high up the field on the right and tries to cut inside several defenders, ignoring the options to his left. He wants his hat-trick, but he won’t get it just yet, as the ball is nicked from him. Not the best decision there.
75′ Hazard played that ball in perfectly, and led the break really well. Belgium are showing their qualiity now.
75′ GOAL! LUKAKU!! He’s made it 3-0 with his second of the day! Belgium break quickly and cleverly, with Hazard sliding a perfectly-weighted pass in behind for the striker, who lofted over the onrushing goalkeeper with ease! This is more like it!
74′ Dembele replaces Carrasco for Belgium, indicating a possible change of formation here to four at the back, with Vertonghen shifting to left-back and the substitute taking his place in midfield.
73′ Tejada replaces Perez as Panama make their final substitution, trying to inject fresh legs.
71′ Panama are still trying, forcing Courtois into a routine catch as they push forward, but it’s evident that heads have dropped now. A comeback looks increasingly unlikely.
70′ VAR was used to check for offside against Lukaku for the second goal, but replays showed that the Manchester United striker was just onside, and the goal was allowed to stand. The referee was not called to the side of the pitch to check, but the decision was made remotely in Moscow.
69′ The quality of that De Bruyne assist cannot be understated. He jinked past his marker nicely, and the ball in was superb. A world-class talent.
69′ GOAL!! LUKAKU MAKES IT 2-0 TO BELGIUM! A slick move produces the second goal, with Hazard cutting inside and playing the ball to De Bruyne, who beats his man and curls in a wonderful ball with the outside of his boot for Lukaku to power home a header at the back post!
67′ Panama have been forced to retreat into their shell, restricting Belgium to more of the slow, sideways passing we saw in the first half. They’ll bide their time, waiting for an opportunity to launch a quick counter attack to their new front two.
65′ De Bruyne and Mertens both stand over a well-positioned free-kick, but it’s wasted as the former smacks it straight into the wall.
63′ Diaz also comes on for Rodriguez as part of an attacking double-change.
63′ Wide-man Barcenas comes off for a striker in Gabriel Torres as Gomez looks to go for a positive result.
62′ Belgium piling the pressure on here as they throw men forward, and Mertens’ dangerous cross is deflected behind for a corner.
61′ CHANCE! Some lovely one-touch football from Belgium as they slice through the Panama defence and into the box, but Lukaku just takes his eye off the ball and lets the return pass slip away from him at the vital moment!
59′ Yet another card here, this time for Belgium as Vertonghen clatters into his man clumsily. That makes seven yellow cards in under an hour in this game!
57′ Godoy now goes into the book as Panama start to rack up the yellow cards, particularly for fouls on the edge of their own area. Thankfully for him, the set-piece comes to nothing.
54′ SAVE! Murillo gets forward well down the right-hand side and brings the ball under really well in the box, but Courtois is off his line quickly to make an outstanding block! Panama have responded well here.
52′ MISS! De Bruyne curls the free-kick just over the angle of post and bar! That was close, and the keeper was beaten there.

51′ Yellow card Michael Amir Murillo Bermudez
49′ Suddenly, Belgium have come to life as Cooper fells Hazard on the edge of the area, picking up a yellow card.
47′ GOAL!!! WHAT A HIT BY MERTENS! It’s 1-0 to Belgium! They’ve hit early on in the second half courtesy of a wonder-goal by Mertens! A cross towards Lukaku is only half-headed clear, and Mertens hits a sublime, dipping volley over the gaolkeeper and into the far corner! What an outstanding goal!
46′ And Belgium get us back underway for the second half!
Perhaps Martinez will need to change something at half-time, maybe releasing De Bruyne further forward in order to feed the front three, replacing a central defender in the process. Panama will have to maintain their energy and their solidity to keep their illustrious opponents at bay, but they will certainly be happy with the scoreline at the break.
At half-time, Belgium haven’t quite hit top gear. They started brightly, but their tempo dropped off as the half wore on, Panama look spirited, but haven’t really threatened the Belgium back three and Courtios hasn’t had a notable save to make. Hazard and Mertens have tries to create moments of magic, but Lukaku has hardly touched the ball, and De Bruyne’s quality appears wasted in his deeper role.



45′ + 2′ HALF-TIME BELGIUM 0-0 PANAMA



45′ + 2′ Barcenas joins his team-mate in the book as he unceremoniously dumps Carrasco onto the turf. Possibly the easiest decision of the day for the referee.
45′ Two minutes will be added on at the end of the first half.
44′ Hazard tries to craft something on the left, twisting this way and that. Lukaku wants the ball delievered into the box early, but Hazard elects instead to try and find Mertens with a reverse pass, which is cut out.
42′ MISS! Panama try to retaliate through Cooper, who tries an ambitious effort from range, but it flies miles over the crossbar.
41′ MISS! Hazard wins a free-kick on the left that finds Mertens in plenty of space on the right, but the Napoli forward’s volley is just sliced wide! What a spectacular goal that would have been!
40′ CHANCE! Mertens slips the ball through for Lukaku, who had made an excellent run in behind, but Penedo gets out quickly to block it away! He’s been alert today, the Panama goalkeeper.
38′ SAVE! Hazard wriggles free of his marker and cannons a shot towards the near post, but Penedo stretches across really well to turn it behind and keep it out!
36′ Lukaku looks very put out as Roman Torres goes to the floor and wins a free-kick as a Belgium cross came into the box. That was a very soft foul to give away there.
35′ Hazard gets more rough treatement as he fails to pick out Lukaku. He hobbles to his feet and keeps going. Martinez will certainly hope one of his biggest stars remains injury-free.
34′ Panama win an aerial duel and end up with a two-on-two that just runs away from Rodriguez, but it’s retrieved well and worked down towards the byline, eventually earning them a corner. Lax defending there from Belgium.
32′ A sloppy ball gifts the ball to Panama, who try to break, but Witsel gets back well to screen the defence, winning it back as the move slowed down.
30′ Panama’s fans jeer Belgium as the three centre-halves play the ball between themselves. There didn’t seem to be a great deal of purpose in that particular passage of play.
28′ After some stern words from the ref about pushing and shoving in the box, De Bruyne’s eventual delivery smacks Cooper in the two-man wall square in the face and the stricken player stays down.
27′ Hazard shows a quick turn of pace on the left and is bundled to the floor by Murillo, winning a free-kick. De Bruyne stands over it.
26′ MISS! Hazard drives through the heart of midfield to the edge of the box and elects to go alone, but can only fire his shot wide of the near post. He had options either side there, and perhaps made the wrong decision.
25′ Belgium turn defence into attack, launching a quick attack following a lovely touch by Hazard to Lukaku, whose through-ball towards Mertens is just cut out for a corner.
24′ Hazard is felled and wants a free-kick, but the referee deems it a fair challenge and Panama break. Witsel clears unconvincingly, but Belgium eventually get it clear.

24′ Hazard is felled and wants a free-kick, but the referee deems it a fair challenge and Panama break. Witsel clears unconvincingly, but Belgium eventually get it clear.
22′ MISS! The corner is taken short to De Bruyne this time, and he cuts inside before lashing an effort just over the crossbar! They’re still probing here, but Panama have managed to cope so far.
21′ CHANCE! De Bruyne works hard to win the ball back high up the pitch and fires a fantastic low cross towards Lukaku at the back post, but Roman Torres comes in with an unbelieveable sliding block to turn the ball past the post!
18′ Davis picks up a yellow card to match Meunier’s as he goes in a little too heavy on Mertens. That one was more warranted.
18′ SIDE-NETTING! Meunier does well to reach the ball at the byline and win a corner off a Panama defender. It’s taken short and fast to Mertens inside the box, but he can only lash his effort into the outside of the goal!
16′ Panama knock the ball about confidently for a couple of minutes, and their fans cheer every pass with gusto. Barcenas then tries to burst past Vertonghen with a turn of pace, but he fouls the defender in the process. Not a bad little spell for Panama.
14′ There’s an early yellow card for Meunier as he clatters into his man while jumping for a high ball. That seems a little harsh, and the PSG wing-back will have to watch his step now.
12′ SIDE-NETTING! A long ball forward to Hazard is watched all the way to the byline by Roman Torres, but his square ball to the keeper is massively underhit, and Hazard latches onto it in a flash, but can only strike it into the side-netting! Huge opportunity there!
10′ Belgium still on top, knocking the ball around nicely, just probing and looking for openings. They’ve started brightly here.
8′ NO PENALTY! Mertens goes over in the box as he cuts in from the right, but he’s gone to ground far too easily and the referee isn’t even remotely interested in his appeals. Looks like VAR isn’t needed for that one.
6′ SAVES! First, a lovely, low ball by Meunier on the right is dummied well to Carrasco, whose low shot is well-held by Penedo. Belgium almost immediately follow up with a second attempt, crafted a move from left to right that Mertens strikes high at goal, forcing Penedo to tip it behind for a corner! They’re piling on the pressure already!

5′ It’s all Belgium so far, forcing Panama deeper and deeper into their own half. De Bruyne, Hazard and Carrasco are striking up a nice understanding on their left flank, but Vertonghen’s attempt to switch the play to Meunier on the right goes out for a throw-in.
3′ Alderweireld’s crossfield pass towards Carrasco is cut out, and Panama break quickly down their right-hand side, forcing Boyata to come across and concede a free-kick.
1′ CHANCE! De Bruyne slips Hazard in down the left and the Chelsea forward cuts it back to Lukaku in the centre, but the burly striker can’t direct his effort on target! That was very nearly an incredibly fast start by the Belgians!
1′ And we’re underway for the first game of Group G! Panama kick off at the start of their very first World Cup match.
The national anthems have been bellowed out by both sets of fans, and we’re just about ready for kick-off.
In stark contrast, Belgium have a wealth of individual talent – particularly from the Premier League. De Bruyne contributed to three of Belgium’s six goals at the 2014 World Cup (one goal, two assists), while Lukaku was the third-highest European goalscorer in qualifying with 11 goals. Additionally, today’s starting team boasts Chelsea stars Hazard and Courtois, as well as Tottenham duo Vertonghen and Alderweireld.
Panama only just scraped through qualifying, and actually did so with -1 goal difference. No player scored more than two goals (Gabriel Torres and Roman Torres) en route to the finals, and they won just three of their last 10 qualifying games.
However, Belgium boss Roberto Martinez has never managed at a World Cup before, whilst Panama’s head coach Hernan Dario Gomez has previously taken both Colombia and Ecuador to this stage of the tournament, in 1998 and 2002, respectively.
Additionally, while this is Panama’s first ever World Cup, Belgium attend the tournament for the 13th time, the sixth most of any European nation.
This is the first ever meeting between these two nations, and the Belgians come into the match as overwhelming favourites. They were one of the four European teams to qualify unbeaten, and were the joint-top scorers alongside Germany (43 goals each).
For Panama, their captain and national hero Roman Torres – whose goal secured his nation’s qualifcation for the tournament – recovers in time from a hamstring complaint to start, while veteran striker Perez is selected ahead of Gabriel Torres up front.
Belgium are without two central defenders in the form of Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen today, meaning that Boyata gets a start today. Hazard also starts despite hobbling off in their convincing victory over Costa Rica prior to the tournament.
Panama substitutes: Ismael Diaz, Jose Calderon, Valentin Pimentel, Abdiel Arroyo, Alex Rodriguez, Gabriel Torres, Harold Cummings, Ricardo Avila, Luis Ovalle, Luis Tejada, Adolfo Machado, Felipe Baloy
Panama XI (4-1-4-1): Jaime Penedo; Eric Davis, Fidel Escobar, Roman Torres, Michael Murillo; Gabriel Gomez; Jose Luis Rodriguez, Armando Cooper, Anibal Godoy, Edgar Barcenas; Blas Perez
Belgium substitutes: Michy Batshuayi, Youri Tielemans, Nacer Chadli, Simon Mignolet, Thorgan Hazard, Marouane Fellaini, Koen Casteels, Vincent Kompany, Adnan Januzaj, Leander Dendoncker, Mousa Dembele
Belgium XI (3-4-3): Thibaut Courtois; Jan Vertonghen, Dedryck Boyata, Toby Alderweirdeld; Yannick Carrasco, Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Thomas Meunier; Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens
The line-ups are out, and we’ll start with Belgium.
Hello and welcome to our LIVE coverage of the Group G match between Belgium and Panama at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

GOAL

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