International

Hazard and Batshuayi score in big Belgium win

Eden Hazard and Michy Batshuayi were on target, while Thibaut Courtois was also involved, as Belgium took a huge step towards the knockout stages of the World Cup with a 5-2 thumping of Tunisia.

Hazard became the first Chelsea player to score at the World Cup and netted a goal in each half for the Red Devils, with Batshuayi coming off the bench to add his name to the scoresheet as the Red Devils made it two wins from two.

Having been on the end of some rough treatment from the Panama defenders in Belgium’s opener, Hazard was fouled just 18 seconds into today’s game, and when the Chelsea forward was brought down again after four minutes, inside the box, a penalty was awarded.

In contrast to the way they started their first game Belgium had flown out of the blocks, and they were rewarded for their positivity when Hazard stepped forward and drilled his penalty into the bottom corner, giving Roberto Martinez’s side an early lead.
 

Hazard almost added a second a few minutes later when he arrived in the box to meet a Romelu Lukaku cross, but his strike lacked the power to seriously trouble Farouk Ben Mustapha in the Tunisia goal.

Belgium wouldn’t have to wait long to extend they advantage, however, as Lukaku raced on to a Dries Mertens through-ball and finished well after only 16 minutes.

By that stage, it looked as though they were going to run away with it, but Tunisia responded immediately and pulled one back when Dylan Bronn rose to meet a free-kick and glanced his header into the back of the net.

Batshuayi was instructed to warm up when Lukaku went down injured and required treatment midway through the first half, but the goalscorer was deemed fit to carry on and he added to his tally, restoring Belgium’s two-goal advantage in the process, on the stroke of half-time with a clever dinked finish following fantastic work by right wing-back Thomas Meunier.

Courtois didn’t have a great deal to do during the opening 45 minutes but the Chelsea goalkeeper looked confident and assured when called upon.

Six minutes after the restart it was 4-1 to Belgium as Hazard scored his second with a goal of the highest quality. Picked out by a clever pass over the top by Kevin De Bruyne, the Chelsea man controlled the ball with his chest before rounding Ben Mustapha and finishing well under pressure.
 

With the points all but secured, Hazard was brought off with 67 minutes on the clock, replaced by Chelsea team-mate Batshuayi, who was making his first appearance of the tournament.

The striker was quickly into the action, racing onto a Mertens pass and rounding the keeper, only to see his goal-bound strike hooked off the line. Moments later Batshuayi went close twice in quick succession, first hitting the underside of the bar after a Yannick Carrasco strike had been palmed into his path, and then seeing a well-hit volley saved by Ben Mustapha.

Batshuayi, who had looked lively since coming on, wasn’t to be denied in the 90th minute though when he timed his run into the box perfectly to meet a Youri Tielemans cross and volley left-footed into the bottom corner, before Tunisia scored a consolation in added time.
 

If England beat Panama tomorrow, both Gareth Southgate’s side and Belgium will qualify for the knockout rounds ahead of their meeting on Thursday.

 

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