Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Belgium proved too good for World Cup debutants Panama in the opening match in England’s Group G.
After a goalless first half Belgium, ranked third in the world, finally broke Panama’s resistance when Dries Mertens steered in a spectacular 15-yard volley early in the second half.
Panama, 55th in the rankings, had a chance to snatch an equaliser but Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was quick off his line to save Michael Murillo’s shot with his legs.
Manchester United striker Lukaku made certain of the victory as he scored with a diving header after an exquisite pass from Kevin de Bruyne with the outside of his boot.
Lukaku then added a third with a chipped finish after a fine through ball from Chelsea’s Eden Hazard.
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