The Belgium national team enjoyed the perfect start to Russia 2018 with a dominant 3-0 win over World Cup debutants and massive underdogs Panama. It took the Belgians until the second half to find the breakthrough, though, when Dries Mertens opened the scoring with a delicious volley two minutes after the restart.
In the 69th minute, Romelu Lukaku headed in Belgium’s second from a Kevin de Bruyne cross to put the game beyond all doubt, before adding another just six minutes later to make the final score 3-0.
Panama managed to keep Belgium out for the first 45 minutes, despite the almost uninterrupted pressure from Martinez’s men. "We knew what we had to do and we got the job done," said the Belgium head coach: "The important thing was that we won."
Belgium will now face Tunisia on Saturday afternoon, while Panama face England the following day in a must-win game for Hernan Gomez’s side.