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Belgium vs Panama: 2018 FIFA World Cup highlights, scores, blog

18th June, 2018

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Belgium vs Panama

2018 FIFA World Cup, Group G

Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi
Belgium Panama
3 SCORE 0
15 Shots 7
9 Corners 3
3 Yellow Cards 5
0 Red Cards 0
When: 1:00am AEST
Where: Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi
TV: Optus Sport
Betting: Belgium $1.14, Draw $7.50, Panama $21.00

Belgium

Goalkeepers: Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg), Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool).

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Thomas Meunier (Paris St-Germain), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur).

Midfielders: Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Yifang), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham Hotspur), Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Monchengladbach), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Youri Tielemans (Monaco), Axel Witsel (Tianjin Quanjian).

Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea), Nacer Chadli (West Brom), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United).

Panama

Goalkeepers: Jose Calderon (Chorrillo FC), Jaime Penedo (Dinamo Bucharest), Alex Rodriguez (San Francisco FC).

Defenders: Felipe Baloy (CSD Municipal), Harold Cummings (San Jose Earthquakes), Eric Davis (DAC Dunajska Streda), Fidel Escobar (New York Red Bulls), Adolfo Machado (Houston Dynamo), Michael Murillo (New York Red Bulls), Luis Ovalle (CD Olimpia), Roman Torres (Seattle Sounders).

Midfielders: Edgar Barcenas (Cafetaleros de Tapachula), Armando Cooper (Club Universidad de Chile), Anibal Godoy (San Jose Earthquakes), Gabriel Gómez (Bucaramanga), Valentin Pimentel (Plaza Amador), Alberto Quintero (Universitario de Lima), Jose Luis Rodriguez (KAA Gent).

Forwards: Abdiel Arroyo (LD Alajuelense), Ismael Diaz (Deportivo La Coruna), Blas Perez (CSD Municipal), Luis Tejada (Sports Boys), Gabriel Torres (CD Huachipato).
Eden Hazard in Belgium colours. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)
Roar Guru
18th June, 2018
95

Match result:

Belgium have opened their World Cup finals account with all three points after defeating Panama 3-0 at the Fisht Olympic stadium.

Despite a first poor half, Belgium came out in the second 45 and played a better brand of football. Dries Mertens got the first with a volley out of the top drawer.

Romelu Lukaku got the other two goals to round off a solid 3-0 win for Belgium.

Final score
Belgium: 3
Panama: 0

Match preview:

Panama will play their first ever World Cup finals match against Belgium at the Fisht Olympic stadium. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 1am (AEST).

This clash is big for both sides, but for two completely different reasons. For Belgium, it’s because they need to get off to a good start.

Sides that tend to have success at major tournaments start well, so that will be at the back of their minds. That doesn’t necessarily mean they have to play well, but find a way to get all three points.

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There is no denying they have the talent within their squad, and Roberto Martinez needs to find way to get every little bit of that talent out over the next month.

Some feel this is the golden generation for Belgium, but that will mean little if they cannot find a way to win a major tournament, and I think they will be backing themselves to go deep in Russia.

The spine of the side is exceptional. Thibaut Courtois has been a top goalkeeper for a number of years, and in front of him, he has some exceptional centre back’s in the likes of Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld.

A player of Kevin De Bruyne’s talent in midfield gives them the edge over most. His ability to pass, create and score makes him a valuable member. He also knows how to control the tempo of a football match, which was massive in Manchester City winning the Premier League title this season.

Eden Hazard is up there as Belgium’s best player, and one does get the feeling he will need to be at his best if Belgium are to make it deep into the tournament. The same can be said for Romelu Lukaku, who is a natural goal scorer.

As for Panama, this is a big clash simply because it’s their first at a World Cup finals. No one expects anything from them which allows them to play without any pressure, but they will want to give a good account of themselves regardless.

They are a bit of an unknown quantity, but the player to watch for Panama in my eyes has to be 19-year-old winger Jose Luis Rodridguez. He is yet to make his senior debut for Gent, but should he start, he will be looking to show that fearless attitude most kids have.

He could be Panama’s shining light come the end of the tournament.

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Prediction
It’s difficult to see anything but a comfortable Belgium win here. Panama no doubt will be looking to cause an upset, but with the quality Belgium possess, they are facing one of the better sides of this year’s World Cup.

Belgium 4 – Panama 0.

Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 1am (AEST).