SOCHI: Panama are not long for this, their first World Cup. They lost ‘only’ 3-0 to the Red Devils of Belgium in Sochi but they looked as poor as Saudi Arabia against the Russians and do not have even the same level of experience on which to fall back.
Belgium should have been well clear by half-time. Dries Mertens had a right-wing drive tipped over the bar by keeper Jaime Penedo then Eden Hazard hit the side net on the left after picking up a poor backpass. Then Penedo foiled Hazard as the Chelsea forward sliced through the central American defence.
The inevitable Belgian goal arrived two minutes into the second half, courtesy of an angled volley from Mertens.
Panama raised one brief moment of concern when Michael Murillo escaped long enough to prompt keeper Thibaut Courtois into action for one of the few occasions.
Belgium, jolted out of complacency, then picked up the pace again and centre-forward Romelu Lukaku struck twice for his 37th and 38th international goals.