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Belgium beat Panama 3-0 in World Cup Group G match | Coastweek

SOCHI Russia (Xinhua) -- Ismael Diaz  [second left] of Panama breaks through with the ball during a group G match between Belgium and Panama at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Sochi, Russia, June 18, 2018. XINHUA PHOTO - BAI XUEQI
Belgium beat Panama 3-0 in World Cup Group G match

SOCHI Russia (Xinhua) -- Three beautifully crafted goals in the second half helped Belgium defeat Panama 3-0 in the opening match of the World Cup Group G actions here on Monday.

Panama staged an encouraging first-half performance on their World Cup debut as they held Belgium’s talented team to a 0-0 draw at halftime.

After struggling to find the net before halftime, Belgium needed only two minutes to open the scoring in the second half as Dries Mertens struck home with a superb volley.

Romelu Lukaku hit double in the 69th and 75th minute to increase Belgians’ advantage.

Belgium now go top of Group G, with Tunisia playing England later on Monday.

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UPDATES:

Belgium coach Martinez happy with win against Panama

SOCHI Russia (Xinhua) -- Belgium coach Roberto Martinez felt very happy with the team’s performance in their 3-0 win against Panama in the World Cup Group G opener on Monday.

“I’m so delighted. There are no easy games, but the players managed to win,” Martinez said. “In the first half we started well for 10 to 15 minutes but they defended well with their defensive structure and we became a little frustrated in some situations where we would normally take a chance.”

Panama staged a very encouraging performance at the start on their World Cup debut as they held Belgium’s talented team to a 0-0 draw by halftime. But three beautifully crafted goals in the second half helped Belgium claim the hard fought victory.

“We didn’t want to win it in the first five minutes, in the World Cup we understand that we need to play for 90 minutes. We need to be very aware in every game that if you don’t score you must be prepared to work hard and to go through periods where your opponents test you.

“It was a moment to show maturity, it was a moment to show composure and real togetherness. I was very happy with the work of every single player. We need to grow. We grew in the second half and now we have to take it to the next game,” the coach added.

Belgium will next face Tunisia on June 23 and then take on England on June 28.

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It’s big relief to score Belgium’s first goal, says Mertens

SOCHI Russia  (Xinhua) -- Belgium midfielder Dries Mertens said it was a big relief to score his superb volley that put his side on the way to a 3-0 win over Panama at the World Cup on Monday.

Belgium are not having an easy time of it while facing a firm defense from Panama in the first half, but it’s Mertens who opened the scoring for the Red Devils when he struck a stunning volley two minutes into the second half.

“The first goal was a big relief for everyone. It’s really difficult,” Mertens said after the game. “When you begin a World Cup after long preparation and finally the first game was coming, I think everyone expects a lot from us.”

“In the end, we have three points and now we can focus on Tunisia,” Martinez added. “But we have to be ready for each opponent because every match is difficult.”

Belgium will next face Tunisia on June 23 and then take on England on June 28.

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Panama play with dignity, says coach Gomez

SOCHI Russia (Xinhua) -- After a 3-0 defeat to Belgium in their World Cup debut on Monday, Panama coach Hernan Gomez said his team played with dignity and the result was normal.

Asked whether he felt disappointed with the result, Gomez said: “People say we will lose by six or seven goals, but it didn’t happen. Panama played with dignity and for some periods we played pretty well.”

Panama, ranked 55th in the world, staged a very encouraging performance in their World Cup debut as they held Belgium’s talented team to a 0-0 draw by halftime.

“The difference between Belgium and Panama in soccer is greater than three goals,” Gomez admitted. “Nobody likes losing. We are making the first appearance on the World Cup stage, so some people may say that three goals is a lot, but I think this is a normal result, or even abnormal if you consider that it should have been even worse while facing a team like Belgium.”

Panama will take on England on June 24 and then face Tunisia on June 28.

           

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