Today is another day, and this match is the 27th match in the 2018 FIFA World Cup holding in Moscow, Russia.
Date & Time of Match:
Saturday, June 23
Belgium and Tunisia in the Group G round at 1 p.m. BST/8 a.m. ET
_____SCORE: Belgium 5-2 Tunisia_____
Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard both scored braces as Belgium crushed Tunisia 5-2 to all but secure their place in the World Cup knockout stages.
The Red Devils just need England to avoid defeat to Panama in Sunday’s other Group G game to confirm their last-16 spot and no team at Russia 2018 will want to be drawn against Roberto Martinez’s side after this swashbuckling display.
Belgium were dominant from the outset, taking a 2-0 lead inside 16 minutes through Hazard’s penalty and Lukaku’s fine finish.
Dylan Bronn then handed the African side an unlikely lifeline before Lukaku – who scored twice in the opening 3-0 win over Panama – restored Belgium’s lead to become his country’s all-time top scorer at major tournaments with seven goals.
Hazard netted his second early in the second half, while substitute Michy Batshuayi – who had earlier missed three golden opportunities – scored a fifth in the 90th minute. Wahbi Khazri bagged a late consolation for Tunisia, but it did little to take the shine off a memorable result for Belgium.
What an incredible game – the highest-scoring so far – in which Belgium showed their quality and attacking prowess, and could easily have scored more! Hazard and Lukaku grabbed two apiece, before substitute Batshuayi eventually made it five, although he could have had four to himself! Tunisia hit two of their won through Bronn and Khazri, leaving question marks over Belgium’s defending, but were simply overrun by the superior quality of their opponents. It finishes 5-2 to Belgium in one of the most entertaining games of the tournament!
90′ + 4′ FULL-TIME: BELGIUM 5-2 TUNISIA
90′ + 3′ Nagguez, who came on for the goalscorer Bronn, grabs an assist for the man who created the first, cutting the ball back well from the byline.
90′ + 3′ GOAL! TUNISIA MAKE IT 5-2! Out of nowhere again, Nagguez bombs forward from right-back and cuts the ball back towards Khazri, who guides the ball into the far corner on the swivel. Lax defending from Belgium though, as Carrasco has switched off and the back three were all static. They felt the game was over and done with.
65′ Khazri takes a short corner and receives it back immediately, before trying an ambitious effort from the edge of the box that is blocked away. Sliti then tries one from 18 yards, but Alderweireld is across to block it.
63′ Hazard, looking for his hat-trick no doubt, balloons an effort high over the bar from outside the box. Not his best effort this game.
61′ MISS! Carrasco works some space beautifully, cutting inside onto his favoured right foot and unleashing a wicked, curling effort towards the top corner, but it’s just over the top!
60′ CHANCE! Khazri leaves the ball with a clever dummy for Badri, but his shot is blocked from inside the box! Tunisia aren’t done yet!
59′ Substitution Ferjani Sassi Naïm Sliti
59′ Substitution Romelu Lukaku Menama Marouane Fellaini-Bakkioui
57′ Carrasco is played through neatly on the left, but he tries to cut back instead of shooting and his pass is blocked!
55′ MISS! Sassi spots Courtois off his line and tries a cheeky lob on the half-volley, but it sails wide! That was a decent effort by the midfielder though.
54′ Fakhreddine Ben Youssef tangles with Vertonghen on the touchline, and has his elbow in the air. He seems to be losing his cool a bit, and is perhaps lucky to escape a booking.
51′ Alderweireld’s raking pass from the back found Hazard’s splitting pass perfectly, and the forward kept his balance to fire coolly home!
51′ GOAL!!!!! IT’S NOW 4-1! Hazard grabs his second in style, chesting down from a long ball as his run split the two centre-halves, before poking round the onrushing goalkeeper and firing into an empty net!! Great compsure there from Hazard.
50′ SAVE! Tunisia have started strongly in this half as Badri works some space off the left and drills a low effort at goal that Courtois holds well.
49′ CHANCE! Khazri stretches to reach a cross from the left, but it’s a little high and he can’t direct it towards the target! The flag is up for offside, anyway.
47′ MISS! Belgium work a short corner well and De Bruyne fizzes a ball in towards the near post, but Alderweireld spoons his effort over the bar!
46′ Tunisia get the ball rolling for this second half!
Tunisia lost two men to injury in that first half, and with just one substitute left, they may find that tiring legs struggle in the latter stages of the second half. Belgium, however, simply need to maintain their level of quality and could find themselves racking up a few more here, and may look to send out a statement of intent going forward.
What a half! Belgium were 2-0 up after just 16 minutes following a Hazard penalty and an emphatic Lukaku strike, but Tunisia got themselves back into the game out of nowhere just two minutes later, with Bronn glancing Khazri’s superb free-kick into the net with his side’s first shot of the game! Chances were plentiful as both sides showed positivity in an open encounter, and Lukaku struck again on the stroke of half-time, lifting the ball over the goalkeeper from close range to restore his side’s two-goal advantage.
45′ + 4′ HALF-TIME: BELGIUM 3-1 TUNISIA
45′ + 3′ Meunier, a right-back, drifted into the middle and produced a pass worthy of any attacking midfield player for Lukaku, who had made a brilliant run in behind the back-line and dinked the ball into the net superbly!
45′ + 3′ GOAL!!! LUKAKU MAKES IT 3-1! Right on the stroke of half-time, Lukaku gets his second! De Bruyne drifted out to the right and linked up well with Meunier, who drifted into the middle and slipped an inch-perfect through-ball for Lukaku to run onto and clip over the onrushing goalkeeper! Great finish!
45′ + 3′ CHANCE! Massive chance for Lukaku! Meunier makes an excellent interception on the edge of his box and finds Hazard with superb composure. The Chelsea star drives forward at great pace and finds De Bruyne, who fizzes a ball into the box that is just inches away from Lukaku!
45′ + 1′ For the first time in the game, both sides seem to be taking a breather and slowing the pace down.
44′ Tunisia have grown into the game, while Belgium’s intensity has dropped a little. However, the favourites have the capacity to strike in an instant with their quality, so the African side must remain wary.
42′ Tunisia win a corner down the left, forcing Boyata to make an excellent sliding block! The corner flies straight into the arms of Courtois, however.
41′ Syam Ben Youssef is the second Tunisian defender to be stretchered off before half-time, and is replaced by Leicester City’s Benalouane.
40′ MISS! Fakhreddine Ben Youssef tries to strike a volley at goal, but he just cuts across it too much and sends it miles wide of the target!
39′ CHANCE! Belgium win the ball well on the right and play it to Lukaku on the edge of the box. He thinks about shooting on his left, but instead slips De Bruyne in and is inches away from the return pass inside the box, but Ben Mustapha gathers!
37′ Khazri trudges back on, and play resumes, although both sides seem to be slowing things down just for the moment.
36′ Worryingly for Tunisia, Khazri is down holding his ankle, and the game is stopped so he can receive some treatment.
35′ Lukaku, who was briefly off the pitch to receive some treatment, has returned to the pitch as Khazri just fails to unlock the Belgium defence on the break after some clever build-up play.
34′ SAVE! Mertens gets the better of his man down the right and curls in a delightful cross that Ben Mustapha does well to get a hand to, but he fumbles it initially before pouncing on the loose ball.
33′ SAVE! Khazri pulls a nervy save out of Courtois with a swerving, curling strike from outside the box that the Chelsea shot-stopper gathers at the second attempt!
31′ MISS! Tunsia break dangerously down the right as they catch Carrasco napping, and the cross into the box is only headed as far as Sassi, who shifts it onto his right foot and just drags an effort narrowly wide of the bottom-left corner!
29′ What an opening half an hour this has been! Breathless stuff from both sides here.
27′ CHANCE! The openings are flowing thick and fast here as Tunisia play a suicidal ball out from the back that falls straight to Witsel, who perhaps picks the wrong option and smacks a deflected shot over the bar rather that picking out Lukaku!
26′ CHANCE! Lukaku is fed through as Belgium break, but his first touch is heavy and Ben Mustapha shepherds him out of play. Lukaku has to hurdle the keeper at the byline and wants a penalty, but there’s nothing doing there.
25′ Khazri gets to the byline and tries a rabona cross that Courtois catches! Lovely skill from the forward!
24′ Bronn is indeed replaced at right-back by Nagguez, who will be fortunate to have as much of an impact on the game for his side as the man he replaces!
22′ Bronn, the goalscorer, is down for Tunisia and it doesn’t look good. His arm went up immediately to signal to the bench, and he looks certain to come off.
19′ SAVE! Carrasco works a yard and hammers a shot at goal, but Ben Mustapha palms it away. It falls kindly for Hazard on the follow-up, but he gets caught between shooting and squaring for Lukaku, and ends up not quite doing either!
19′ Tunisia scored with their only shot on target against England, and have done it again here! In fact that was their first shot so far in this game!
18′ GOAL!!!!! TUNISIA PULL ONE BACK! It’s now 2-1 as Bronn glances Khazri’s free-kick across the keeper and into the far corner! That’s come out of nowhere!
18′ Assist Wahbi Khazri
16′ Mertens capitalised on a poor touch from Maaloul and fed Lukaku well, timing his pass perfectly.
16′ GOAL!!!! LUKAKU MAKES IT 2-0 TO BELGIUM! Mertens slips him through as the big striker peels off his marker, before arrowing a low strike right into the bottom-right corner through the legs of Ben Youssef! Great goal!
15′ SAVE! Carrasco wriggles inside from the left and strikes at goal, but it’s tame and the goalkeeper is relatively untroubled.
14′ Sassi is booked for dissent after a soft Khazri appeal for a penalty is turned down. There was a little coming together between the forward and Vertonghen, but his reaction was certainly exaggerated.
13′ SAVE! Hazard is inches away from a second goal, but he can’t make the most of an enticing opportunity and Ben Mustapha clings on gratefully!
12′ BLOCK! Hazard’s incisive run down the left earns his side a throw, which is taken to Witsel, and the midfielder turns and thumps an effort at goal that cannons back off a red shirt!
10′ Courtois has to ber alert to come off his line and collect a dinked ball over the top for Badri. Belgium look bright and sharp so far.
8′ Tunisia try to muster an attack, pushing forward down the right, but the ball is too heavy down the line and runs out harmlessly for a goal-kick.
6′ GOAL!!! HAZARD SCORES! It’s 1-0 to Belgium very early on here as Hazard gives the keeper the eyes and slots emphatically into the bottom-left corner. What a start!
5′ PENALTY! Belgium produce some lovely, flowing football and Hazard throws a clever dummy in, allowing the ball to run through his legs for Lukaku, who feeds him the return ball and Ben Youssef clumsily bundles the Chelsea forward over just inside the box! Hazard will take.
4′ Meunier drifts inside from his right wing-back position and drives a low effort at goal with his weaker left foot, and it’s an easy stop for Ben Mustapha.
3′ CHANCE! Tunisia surge forward and want a free-kick, but the referee waves the appeal away and the ball is pumped in behind for Lukaku to chase, but the goalkeeper just gets there first!
1′ Belgium win a very early free-kick which De Bruyne lofts forward, but it’s not his best delivery and Ben Mustapha collects with ease.
1′ And we’re off! Belgium get the ball rolling for the start of the first half.
A win for Belgium today all but confirms qualification – assuming Panama do not beat England tomorrow – and Martinez’s side will be motivated to build on their strong start here.
Belgium and Tunisia have met three times previously, winning one apiece and drawing the other – which came in their only other World Cup encounter in 2002. Belgium’s victory came in their most recent encounter four years ago, with Mertens grabbing a late winner.
Roberto Martinez makes no changes to the side that beat Panama so comfortably in their openeing fixture, with Boyata continuing in the centre of defence while captain Kompany recovers from a groin injury.
Tunisia head coach Nabil Maaloul makes two changes from the side that lost 2-1 to England in their opening fixture, with Ben Mustapha continuing in goal for the injured Mouez Hassen – whose tournament is sadly over following his shoulder injury. Khaoui also replaces Sliti, slotting into midfield and pushing Badri further forward.
Tunisia substitutes: Yohan Benalouane, Mohamed Ben Amor, Naim Sliti, Hamdi Nagguez, Ahmed Khalil, Bassem Srarfi, Ghilane Chaalali, Oussama Haddadi, Rami Bedoui, Saber Khalifa, Aymen Mathlouthi
Tunisia XI (4-3-3): Farouk Ben Mustapha; Ali Maaloul, Yassine Meriah, Syam Ben Youssef, Dylan Bronn; Saif-Eddine Khaoui, Ellyes Skhiri, Ferjani Sassi; Anice Badri, Wahbi Khazri, Fakhreddine Ben Youssef
Belgium substitutes: Mousa Dembele, Leander Dendoncker, Thorgan Hazard, Michy Batshuayi, Nacer Chadli, Marouane Fellaini, Thomas Vermaelen, Simon Mignolet, Vincent Kompany, Youri Tielemans, Adnan Januzaj, Koen Casteels
Belgium XI (3-4-3): Thibaut Courtois; Jan Vertonghen, Dedryck Boyata, Toby Alderweireld; Yannick Carrasco, Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Thomas Meunier; Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens
The line-ups have been announced, and we’ll start with Belgium.
Hello and welcome to our LIVE coverage of the Group G match between Belgium and Tunisia at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.