Belgium 5-2 Tunisia
6’ Hazard (BEL, pen)
16’ Lukaku (BEL)
18’ Bronn (TUN)
45+3’ Lukaku (BEL)
51’ Hazard (BEL)
90’ Batshuayi (BEL)
90 + 3’ Khazri (TUN)
Group G preview: Belgium, England line-up as favourites
FT: Belgium are virtually through to the round of 16 and they have scored 8 goals in two matches. If England beat Panama, they will also go through. Tunisia, though, will hope that Panama can beat England because that will keep their dreams alive.
FT: If Batshuayi had taken his chances, this scoreline could have been much more crazier.
FT! Peet, peeet, peeeeeet! And that is the game. Belgium were much too good for Tunisia but that defensive line will have Martinez worried. If Tunisia can score against them, surely England (on current form) will pose a bigger challenge.
90 + 3’: GOAL! Khazri gets one back for Tunisia. But it is too little; too late. Still, a goal is a goal.
90’: GOAAALLL! Finally, Batshuayi scores. He has had chances and now, he has a goal.
86’: How good is Lukaku for Belgium? Very, very good.
80’: Make that three. Batshuayi again. Denied again. Another good chance from just a few yards out. The goalkeeper with a nice reflex save though.
78’: Another great, great chance for Batshuayi and this time he managed to hit the frame from six yards out. He could have so easily had two by now.
76’: Off the line by Meriah. Batshuayi had gone around the keeper and his shot was headed for goal but he was denied. Still 4-1.
73’: Vertonghen takes a knock but he is back on. No suspicion of concussion.
66’: Badri unleashes another shot at the Belgium goal. Once again, they worked their way through the Belgium defence with ease. Courtois was up to the challenge though. It remains 4-1.
61’: Belgium have looked like the World Cup’s best side going forward but their defence has been a little porous today. Tunisia have also had chances; chances they have not done much with but perhaps chances that better sides would punish.
58’: With the match virtually in the bag, Lukaku is being taken off by Belgium. Fellaini comes on instead. Tactical sub, might as well rest the big man while he can.
56’: Check out that delicious through ball from De Bruyne. Pure Class. Belgium are running riot here.
51’: GOAAAALLL! Hazard scores. Wonderful pass from Kevin De Bruyne, who was near the halfway line. He picked out Hazard, who controlled it well despite having two defenders on him and finished with electric cool. Unstoppable Hazard. Unstoppable Belgium. 4-1!!!!
46’: Play resumes. How will this end? Lukaku became the first man to score a brace in two consecutive matches in 32 matches. The last man to do so – Diego Maradona!
Hazard too has been brilliant. His movement has made him a pain for the defenders.
HT: Lukaku now joins Ronaldo on four goals in this World Cup (so far...). He is is also the first player to score four goals for Belgium at a single World Cup.
One more stat: Lukaku has now scored more goals in World Cups and European Championships than any other Belgium player, his seven goals bettering the six scored by Jan Ceulemans.
HT: That turned out to be the last touch of the half. Tunisia fought hard but Belgium and Lukaku are clinical in front of goal. If and when Tunisia have made an error, they have been made to pay for it. The second and third goals were a direct result of errors.
45 + 3’: GOAAAALLLL!!! Lukaku with his second brace of the tournament. Wonderful little one-two with Thomas Meunier, who wonderfully weighed pass allowed the big striker to get behind the defence and then end it up with a little chip over the keeper. Class.
45 + 2’: Great break from Belgium. Pass out from defence, brilliant run by Hazard, nice out ball to de Bruyne but the final ball was just a little too far from Hazard.
45’: Lots of breaks in play. Injuries and fouls. We have 4 minutes of time added on.
38’: De Bruyne has been missing so far. Hazard has been the creative forced for Belgium today and they would love it for the Man City man to join the action.
35’: The defense hasn’t exactly been great from both sides but they are going forward with a willingness that makes for great viewing. Khazri, the Tunisian skipper, has been a focal point for his side. Belgian have become a little quiet though.
33’: Now, a shot from Khazri. This is fast developing into a classic match.
31’: Tunisia are taking shots at the Belgium goal and they are getting into pretty good positions before they do so. A shot from Sassi – from just above the box – goes just wide of the left post.
24’: The goal has woken up the Tunisians. They are now running at the Belgium defence. All in all, it promises to be a lot of fun as the Red Devils aren’t exactly sitting back either. Belgium had had 8 shots already. Tunisia – just one – but they made it count.
18’: GOAAAAL!!!! Just when one thought that the game was done with, Tunisia strikes back with a goal of their very own. Completely against the run of play but this will ignite the game. It came from a set piece, Khazri whipped it in from the left side and Bronn rose above everyone to nod it in. There were just 109 seconds between Romelu Lukaku’s goal and Dylan Bronn’s strike for Tunisia.
16’: GOAAAALLL! Lukaku scores! Wonderful goal from open play. Lovely through ball and Lukaku ran onto it well and his finish was clinical. 6 international goals in his last 4 appearances for Belgium now.
13’: All one-way traffic. Belgium attacking from the flanks, Belgium attacking from the middle, Belgium attacking with through balls. The longer this goes on, the more threatening Belgium are looking.
6’: GOAL!!! Hazard scores from the penalty spot. It was never in doubt. He earned it, he finished it. The Chelsea man was onto a through ball and is sent to the turf by Ben Youssef. It took took a VAR review to confirm the decision.
2’: Tunisia are expected to go forward and attack. But they will need to be careful. Lukaku can be deadly on the break – as he almost was here. The goalkeeper was off his line in a jiffy. Only Spain (22) are on a longer unbeaten run in international football than Belgium (20)
1’: And we are a go. Belgium the favourites in this one but a draw will at least keep Tunisia alive. Lukaku has scored 5 goals in his last three internationals for Belgium.
The Belgian Red Devils are unbeaten in last 10 World Cup group games, winning the last five in a row (W5 D5 L0). They will be feeling very positive.
Still looking for a win!
Tunisia’s last win at the World Cup came way back in 1978. Here is a quick look at that game.
The Red Devils’ best run at a World Cup is third place in 1986 but they are regarded as dark horses for the title in Russia. That run in 1986 was inspired by a certain Enzo Scifo, who is still regarded as one of Belgium’s greatest ever players.
Belgium and Tunisia have matched up pretty evenly in the past.They have played 3 games against each other and the record stands at: 1 win, 1 draw, 1 loss.
But this is a very different Belgium line-up. Also, Tunisia are looking to end a win-less streak at the World Cup that now stretches to 12 matches (4 draws, 8 losses). Their last win at the event came way back in 1978 when they beat Mexico 3-1.
This is how the teams are expected to line-up.
No room for complacency
Belgium are ranked third in the world, behind only Germany and Brazil, but Martinez said there was no room for complacency against Tunisian, ranked 21. There is one thing Belgium expects though: ““We respect Tunisia’s threat but they’re a team that need to come out and win the game, so they’ll make it very, very open. In that respect, if we look after our performance we’ll get settled into that sort of game.”
One eye on England
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has been keeping one eye on next week’s blockbuster clash with England in the lead-up to the match against Tunisia.
Barring major upsets, the June 28 tie against Gareth Southgate’s men in Kaliningrad will decide who tops the group and Martinez was wary of England’s threat.
He indicated Belgium will be particularly vigilant during set-pieces, noting that 60 percent of goals at the tournament so far had come from dead-ball situations, including both of Harry Kane’s strikes in England’s 2-1 win over Tunisia.
Winning is all that matters
Romelu Lukaku and Belgium can effectively lock up a last 16 berth with victory over Tunisia in Moscow in Group G, ahead of a blockbuster clash with England next week.
Lukaku scored twice in a 3-0 win over debutants Panama, and Roberto Martinez is trying to finally squeeze the best out of a squad brimming with talent.
“The World Cup does not respect generations, the World Cup doesn’t respect individual names, it only respects winning teams,” Martinez said.
The game begins at 17:30 IST.