Belgium dazzle in seven-goal thriller

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  • Lukaku (2), Hazard (2) and Batshuayi strike for Red Devils
  • Tunisia need Panama to beat England to stay alive

Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard each scored twice and substitute Michy Batshuayi added a deserved fifth as Belgium cruised past Tunisia to edge closer to a place in the Round of 16.

Lukaku’s clinically taken brace, coming in the wake of a double against Panama in the Red Devils’ opening match, established him as Belgium’s most prolific scorer at a single FIFA World Cup™. Hazard kicked off the scoring by opening his account at Russia 2018 in the sixth minute from the penalty spot, before Lukaku doubled the Red Devils’ lead after 16 minutes with an angled left-foot finish.

The Carthage Eagles pulled a goal back courtesy of a Dylan Bronn header but Lukaku then made it 3-1 in first-half stoppage time with a dinked finish to convert Thomas Meunier’s clever through ball. Hazard then got his second in the 51st minute of a thrilling contest from a defence-splitting Kevin de Bruyne pass before Belgium substitute Batshuayi and Tunisia skipper Wahbi Khazri rounded off the scoring.

The North Africans’ World Cup hopes now hang by a thread and they will need Panama to beat England in tomorrow’s match to stand any chance of continuing in this competition.

Team reporter analysis
Belgium imposed themselves on this game, taking control of the play and clinically converting their chances. They looked to kill the contest quickly and counted on their individual attacking stars to do that. The defence and the midfield also kept their shape despite Tunisia’s early pressing. The Red Devils are living up to expectations.

Tunisia actually fared well in the first half despite conceding three goals, with Belgium’s third coming somewhat against the run of play. But the early goal in the second half finished off the Carthage Eagles and they never recovered from that blow. Belgium thoroughly deserved their victory.

Budweiser Man of the Match
Besides bagging a brace for Belgium, Eden Hazard was lively throughout and initiated many of his team’s attacks.

The stat
40  Tunisia’s wait goes on. They have not won a World Cup game in 40 years, since beating Mexico 3-1 in the 1978 edition.

What’s next
England v Belgium – Group G, 28 June, Kaliningrad
Panama v Tunisia – Group G, 28 June, Saransk

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