KATHMANDU, June 18: Double from Lukaku and a full volley stunner from Mertens sealed the victory for the Belgium against the debutants Panama.
The new debutants to the world cup were composed and defensively organized in the first half. Belgians had only a couple of half chances in the first half. However, they enjoyed majority of ball possession. Hazard had a shot taken wide to the post after dribbling through the Panamas defense. Panama was much physical compare to other American sides. They mostly attacked on the counter. Mertens on the right flank created a couple of good chances.
Mertens opened the score through his full volley stunner in the 48th minute for Belgium. An early lead right into the second half, and Belgium pressed more in their offensive line. Panama had the chance to equalize in the 54th minute, but Murillo's loosely hit shot was saved by the keeper Courtois only for a corner. Captain Torres' headed the corner delievery wdie to the post. This was the biggest miss for the Panama side to get back in the game. De Bruyne provided the assist for Lukaku's first goal, scored by header in the 53rd minute. Lukaku scored his second and Belgium's third goal in the 75th minute. Panama tried to get back in the game, but the midfield duo of Hazard and De Bruyne made it difficult for them as the Belgians were attacking from every side of the pitch.
Escobar's free kick in the 89th minute was shot straight at the keeper's hand. Four minutes was added for the stoppage time play but noyhing could come in this added time for either of the teams. And the final whistle blew.