England less threatening than Belgium, says Panama's Rodriguez

England less threatening than Belgium, says Panama's Rodriguez

"I think we did a good job - some people thought we would lose by seven goals but it was only 3-0", he said.

He said: "I can complain and say I need more protection but I don't like to do that".

A stunning volley from Dries Mertens and a Romelu Lukaku double broke the resistance of a fearless Panama side on their World Cup debut as Belgium cruised to a 3-0 win in their opening Group G game on Monday.

Romelu Lukaku's exemplary finishing made Belgium's victory look more emphatic than it actually was.

This time Hazard released Lukaku, and the Manchester United man beat Penedo to complete the scoring and take him to five goals at major tournaments, as Belgium get up and running.

"You have such an urge to run and do your thing and then you notice your legs don't co-operate".

Questions will have to be asked of the overall system utilised by Martinez here - and the real test of this side will come deeper into the competition - but indivudual stars like De Bruyne and Lukaku will, more often than not, have enough about them to do the necessary against teams of this calibre regardless of managerial instructions.

The two goals from Lukaku came shortly after Mertens scored from about 18 yards in the opening moments of the second half, finally relieving some pressure after Belgium was unable to break down Panama for the first 45 minutes. As half-time approached, Panama had to rely on goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, who saved well from Hazard and at the feet of the marauding Lukaku. "It's important to be flexible", he said.


Static, rigid buildup play was synonymous with the teams of Marc Wilmots, and it was present again in Sochi. Belgium is FIFA's third-ranked team and one of the World Cup favorites.

Panama was unable to duplicate what Senegal accomplished in 2002 as the last team to win in its World Cup debut.

Sometimes, it's easy to take for granted how outrageously coordinated these players are.

Lukaku had struggled to get into the game before his first goal - as had Kevin De Bruyne before that terrific assist - but his very presence means that he is a constant danger to opposition defences. Fans cried at hearing their national anthem and the players on the field fought their own emotions while singing.

Another alternative to watch Panama vs Belgium is to try out the FuboTV 7-day free trial. Though lacking imagination, Les Diables Rouges still created the clearest chances, with Panama captain Roman Torres working wonders to put a risky cross from Kevin De Bruyne out for a corner with 22 minutes gone. "It was historic what we went through here today".

Panama needs a result against England if it wants any opportunity of the final group game against Tunisia to have meaning. It battled and harried and harassed Belgium as much they could, and even managed to put the Red Devils off their stride for a time. Martinez said the amount of hits Hazard took is a concern.

Belgium secured all three points in what was a comfortable victory against Hernán Darío Gómez's side, as Romelu Lukaku looks to secure the Golden Boot this summer.

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