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Belgium vs Panama: Live blog, text commentary, line-ups, stream & TV channel

11:05 AM GMT+4 18/06/2018
Belgium vs Panama
Roberto Martinez's side take on a Central American team making history with their first ever appearance at the biggest tournament in the world

Full-Time: In the end Belgium make light work of Panama but they took their time to shift up into second gear. Job done for Roberto Martinez and his boys but you can't help but think Belgium will need to be better against tougher opposition. 


90 Mins: Witsel is replaced by Chadli in Belgium's third and final change

90 Mins: There are to be four additional minutes at the end of this game.

89 Mins: SAVE! It's driven at goal from the left towards the bottom corner, but Courtois is able to make a comfortable stop. 

88 Mins: De Bruyne picks up a yellow for a high boot, catching his man as he attempted to win the ball. Escobar stands over the free-kick for Panama.

87 Mins: Belgium seem like they're happy with their day's work as they allow Panama to attack them, and Murillo curls in an enticing cross that just evades his team-mates in the box! 

85 Mins: SAVE! Courtois comes out really quickly to grab the ball off the toes of a Panama forward as they find a way behind the Belgium rear-guard, and it's an excellent stop, but the flag is up for offside anyway. 

83 Mins: Scorer of the opener Dries Mertens is replaced by Thorgan Hazard.

82 Mins: Another free-kick is won on the edge of the box and just to the left. Hazard takes this time, but his effort can only find the wall, and is deflected away to safety. 

80 Mins: OFFSIDE! Lukaku plays Meunier in behind this time with a clever reverse pass, but the flag goes up, albeit belatedly, for offside. 

78 Mins: Lukaku gets the ball high up the field on the right and tries to cut inside several defenders, ignoring the options to his left. He wants his hat-trick, but he won't get it just yet, as the ball is nicked from him. Not the best decision there.

75 Mins: GOAL! LUKAKU!! He's made it 3-0 with his second of the day! Belgium break quickly and cleverly, with Hazard sliding a perfectly-weighted pass in behind for the striker, who lofted over the onrushing goalkeeper with ease! This is more like it! 

74 Mins: Belgium sub: Carrasco comes off for Dembele

73 Mins: Panama sub: Tejada replaces Perez as Panama make their final substitution, trying to inject fresh legs. 

71 Mins: Panama are still trying, forcing Courtois into a routine catch as they push forward, but it's evident that heads have dropped now. A comeback looks increasingly unlikely. 

69 Mins: The quality of that De Bruyne assist cannot be understated. He jinked past his marker nicely, and the ball in was superb. A world-class talent. 

68 Mins: GOAL! Belgium make it look easy, Hazard beats a couple of men on his way into the area where he lays it off to De Bruyne who brilliantly curls it to the backpost with the oustide of his foot where Lukaku is waiting, with a diving header he makes it 2-0.

65 Mins: De Bruyne and Mertens both stand over a well-positioned free-kick, but it's wasted as the former smacks it straight into the wall. 

63 Mins: Panama Sub: Diaz also comes on for Rodriguez as part of an attacking double-change

63 Mins: Panama Sub: Wide-man Barcenas comes off for a striker in Gabriel Torres as Gomez looks to go for a positive result. 

62 Mins: Belgium piling the pressure on here as they throw men forward, and Mertens' dangerous cross is deflected behind for a corner. 

61 Mins: CHANCE! Some lovely one-touch football from Belgium as they slice through the Panama defence and into the box, but Lukaku just takes his eye off the ball and lets the return pass slip away from him at the vital moment!

59 Mins: Yet another card here, this time for Belgium as Vertonghen clatters into his man clumsily. That makes seven yellow cards in under an hour in this game! 

57 Mins: Godoy now goes into the book as Panama start to rack up the yellow cards, particularly for fouls on the edge of their own area. Thankfully for him, the set-piece comes to nothing. 

54 Mins: SAVE! Murillo gets forward well down the right-hand side and brings the ball under really well in the box, but Courtois is off his line quickly to make an outstanding block! Panama have responded well here. 

52 Mins: MISS! De Bruyne curls the free-kick just over the angle of post and bar! That was close, and the keeper was beaten there. 

51 Mins: Bermudez is the latest Panama player to go into the book, and he could be made to pay for it as De Bruyne stands menacingly over the free-kick, well within shooting range. 

49 Mins: Suddenly, Belgium have come to life as Cooper fells Hazard on the edge of the area, picking up a yellow card. 

47 Mins: GOAAAAAAL Belgium break the deadlock with an incredible goal from Dries Mertens. The cross came in and was headed out to the edge of the 18 yard box. Out on the right Mertens hit a first time volley which looped over the keeper and into the back of the net 1-0

46 Mins:  Belgium get the second hald underway!


Perhaps Martinez will need to change something at half-time, maybe releasing De Bruyne further forward in order to feed the front three, replacing a central defender in the process. Panama will have to maintain their energy and their solidity to keep their illustrious opponents at bay, but they will certaibly be happy with the scoreline at the break. 

At half-time, Belgium haven't quite hit top gear. They started brightly, but their tempo dropped off as the half wore on, Panama look spirited, but haven't really threatened the Belgium back three and Courtios hasn't had a notable save to make. Hazard and Mertens have tries to create moments of magic, but Lukaku has hardly touched the ball, and De Bruyne's quality appears wasted in his deeper role. 

HALF TIME: 0-0 It's another one for the underdogs so far. Belgium have been less than impressive but Panama have defended astutely. The minnows are 45 minutes away from earning a historic point against one of the favourites in this tournament. 


45+2 Barcenas joins his team-mate in the book as he unceremoniously dumps Carrasco onto the turf. Possibly the easiest decision of the day for the referee. 

44 Mins: Hazard tries to craft something on the left, twisting this way and that. Lukaku wants the ball delievered into the box early, but Hazard elects instead to try and find Mertens with a reverse pass, which is cut out. 

42 Mins: MISS! Panama try to retaliate through Cooper, who tries an ambitious effort from range, but it flies miles over the crossbar. 

41 Mins: MISS! Hazard wins a free-kick on the left that finds Mertens in plenty of space on the right, but the Napoli forward's volley is just sliced wide! What a spectacular goal that would have been! 

40 Mins: CHANCE! Mertens slips the ball through for Lukaku, who had made an excellent run in behind, but Penedo gets out quickly to block it away! He's been alert today, the Panama goalkeeper.

38 Mins: SAVE! Hazard wriggles free of his marker and cannons a shot towards the near post, but Penedo stretches across really well to turn it behind and keep it out! 

36 Mins: Lukaku looks very put out as Roman Torres goes to the floor and wins a free-kick as a Belgium cross came into the box. That was a very soft foul to give away there

35 Mins: Hazard gets more rough treatement as he fails to pick out Lukaku. He hobbles to his feet and keeps going. Martinez will certainly hope one of his biggest stars remains injury-free. 

34 Mins: Panama win an aerial duel and end up with a two-on-two that just runs away from Rodriguez, but it's retrieved well and worked down towards the byline, eventually earning them a corner. Lax defending there from Belgium. 

32 Mins: A sloppy ball gifts the ball to Panama, who try to break, but Witsel gets back well to screen the defence, winning it back as the move slowed down. 

30 Mins: Panama's fans jeer Belgium as the three centre-halves play the ball between themselves. There didn't seem to be a great deal of purpose in that particular passage of play. 

30 Mins: Belgium have been poor from set-pieces so far with another corner cleared easily by the first Panama defender.

28 Mins: After some stern words from the ref about pushing and shoving in the box, De Bruyne's eventual delivery smacks Cooper in the two-man wall square in the face and the stricken player stays down. 

26 Mins: MISS! Hazard drives through the heart of midfield to the edge of the box and elects to go alone, but can only fire his shot wide of the near post. He had options either side there, and perhaps made the wrong decision. 

25 Mins: Belgium turn defence into attack, launching a quick attack following a lovely touch by Hazard to Lukaku, whose through-ball towards Mertens is just cut out for a corner.

24 Mins: Hazard is felled and wants a free-kick, but the referee deems it a fair challenge and Panama break. Witsel clears unconvincingly, but Belgium eventually get it clear. 

22 Mins: MISS! The corner is taken short to De Bruyne this time, and he cuts inside before lashing an effort just over the crossbar! They're still probing here, but Panama have managed to cope so far. 

21 Mins: CHANCE! De Bruyne works hard to win the ball back high up the pitch and fires a fantastic low cross towards Lukaku at the back post, but Roman Torres comes in with an unbelieveable sliding block to turn the ball past the post! 

18 Mins: Davis picks up a yellow card to match Meunier's as he goes in a little too heavy on Mertens. That one was more warranted. 

18 Mins: SIDE-NETTING! Meunier does well to reach the ball at the byline and win a corner off a Panama defender. It's taken short and fast to Mertens inside the box, but he can only lash his effort into the outside of the goal!

16 Mins: Panama knock the ball about confidently for a couple of minutes, and their fans cheer every pass with gusto. Barcenas then tries to burst past Vertonghen with a turn of pace, but he fouls the defender in the process. Not a bad little spell for Panama. 

14 Mins: There's an early yellow card for Meunier as he clatters into his man while jumping for a high ball. That seems a little harsh, and the PSG wing-back will have to watch his step now.

12 Mins: SIDE-NETTING! A long ball forward to Hazard is watched all the way to the byline by Roman Torres, but his square ball to the keeper is massively underhit, and Hazard latches onto it in a flash, but can only strike it into the side-netting! Huge opportunity there! 

10 Mins: Belgium still on top, knocking the ball around nicely, just probing and looking for openings. They've started brightly here.

8 Mins: NO PENALTY! Mertens goes over in the box as he cuts in from the right, but he's gone to ground far too easily and the referee isn't even remotely interested in his appeals. Looks like VAR isn't needed for that one. 

6 Mins: SAVE! First, a lovely low ball by Meunier on the right is dummied well to Carrasco, whose low shot is well-held by Penedo. Belgium almost immediately follow up with a second attempt, crafted a move from left to right that Mertens strikes high at goal, forcing Penedo to tip it behind for a corner! They're piling on the pressure already! 

5 Mins: t's all Belgium so far, forcing Panama deeper and deeper into their own half. De Bruyne, Hazard and Carrasco are striking up a nice understanding on their left flank, but Vertonghen's attempt to switch the play to Meunier on the right goes out for a throw-in.

3 Mins: Alderweireld's crossfield pass towards Carrasco is cut out, and Panama break quickly down their right-hand side, focing Boyata to come across and concede a free-kick. 

1 Min: CHANCE! De Bruyne slips Hazard in down the left and the Chelsea forward cuts it back to Lukaku in the centre, but the burly striker can't direct his effort on target! That was very nearly an incredibly fast start by the Belgians!

1 Min: KICK OFF Panama get us underway in Sochi.


We are just moments away from kick off as Panama face a monumental task against Belgium, could we see another shock in this World Cup?

Panama only just scraped through qualifying, and actually did so with -1 goal difference. No player scored more than two goals (Gabriel Torres and Roman Torres) en route to the finals, and they won just three of their last 10 qualifying games. 

However, Belgium boss Roberto Martinez has never managed at a World Cup before, whilst Panama's head coach Hernan Dario Gomez has previously taken both Colombia and Ecuador to this stage of the tournament, in 1998 and 2002, respectively. 

10 Mins to KO: Additionally, while this is Panama's first ever World Cup, Belgium attend the tournament for the 13th time, the sixth most of any European nation

This is the first ever meeting between these two nations, and the Belgians come into the match as overwhelming favourites. They were one of the four European teams to qualify unbeaten, and were the joint-top scorers alongside Germany (43 goals each).

For Panama, their captain and national hero Roman Torres - whose goal secured his nation's qualifcation for the tournament - recovers in time from a hamstring complaint to start, while veteran striker Perez is selected ahead of Gabriel Torres up front. 

Belgium are without two central defenders in the form of Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen today, meaning that Boyata gets a start today. Hazard also starts despite hobbling off in their convincing victory over Costa Rica prior to the tournament. 

Hello and welcome to live text commentary of the Group G match between Belgium and Panama at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Game Belgium vs Panama
Date Monday, June 18
Time 4pm BST / 11am ET
Stream (US only) fubo TV (7-day free trial

Confirmed Line-ups


 

Roberto Martinez made the bold decision to cut Radja Nainggolan from his final World Cup squad, but the former Everton boss has plenty of options to choose from in midfield nonetheless.

There are concerns in defence with injuries meaning that Vermaelen and Kompany miss out and Dedryck Boyata starts. Eden Hazard will captain the team, which lines up with an attacking a 3-4-3 formation.

Potential Belgium XI: Thibaut Courtois; Jan Vertonghen, Dedryck Boyata, Toby Alderweirdeld; Yannick Carrasco, Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Thomas Meunier; Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens

Belgium subs: Michy Batshuayi, Youri Tielemans, Nacer Chadli, Simon Mignolet, Thorgan Hazard, Marouane Fellaini, Koen Casteels, Vincent Kompany, Adnan Januzaj, Leander Dendoncker, Mousa Dembele

Panama do not boast any players who could be considered household names, but they do have a cohort of stars plying their trades in Major League Soccer.

Confirmed Panama XI: Jaime Penedo; Eric Davis, Fidel Escobar, Roman Torres, Michael Murillo; Gabriel Gomez; Jose Luis Rodriguez, Armando Cooper, Anibal Godoy, Edgar Barcenas; Blas Perez

Panama subs: Ismael Diaz, Jose Calderon, Valentin Pimentel, Abdiel Arroyo, Alex Rodriguez, Gabriel Torres, Harold Cummings, Ricardo Avila, Luis Ovalle, Luis Tejada, Adolfo Machado, Felipe Baloy


TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch


In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial).

New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.

US TV channel Online stream
FS1 / Telemundo fubo TV (7-day free trial)

In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on TV on BBC One or streamed live online using the BBC iPlayer.

UK TV channel Online stream
BBC One BBC iPlayer