World Cup - Group G
Belgium5Tunisia2

World Cup 2018: Belgium v Tunisia

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World Cup 2018: Belgium 5-2 Tunisia highlights

Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard both scored twice as Belgium strengthened their lead above England at the top of World Cup Group G by crushing Tunisia with a devastating attacking display.

While Roberto Martinez's side are not through to the last 16 yet, a win for England over Panama in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday will see the Red Devils and Three Lions progress.

That would leave their meeting in Kaliningrad on Thursday to decide who tops the group and it is Belgium who hold the upper hand there, with their sparkling finishing in the sunshine at the Spartak Stadium leaving their goal difference significantly better off.

Speaking after the game, Martinez said he would make "major changes" for the match against England.

"If we could have seven days to prepare for that game and then another seven days before the following game then we would start with the same starting XI," said the former Everton boss.

"The reality is that we have qualified - you are only as good as the 23 players. There will be opportunities for others. We need to check the injury doubts Lukaku (ankle), Hazard (calf) and Mertens (knock to ankle)."

Belgium attacked from the off and needed only five minutes to take the lead, when Hazard was barged over by Syam Ben Youssef just inside the box and got up to send Tunisia keeper Farouk Ben Mustapha the wrong way from the spot.

Things quickly got worse for Tunisia when Ali Maaloul's heavy touch on the halfway line allowed Dries Mertens to nip in and release Lukaku, who found a perfect low finish.

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Is this the miss of the World Cup so far?

The North African side, needing a win to reignite their own hopes of progress, gave themselves hope when Dylan Bronn got on the end of Wahbi Khazri's whipped free-kick just 109 seconds later.

But they could not compete with Belgium's vastly superior firepower and Lukaku gave the Red Devils breathing space once more with a dinked finish from a Thomas Meunier pass just before half-time.

Hazard added his second goal soon after the break, racing on to a precise Toby Alderweireld pass and rounding the keeper to fire home.

That made sure of the points, but Belgium were not finished yet.

Substitute Michy Batshuayi, who also had a shot cleared off the line and hit the bar from close range, finally found the target from Youri Tielemans' cross.

Tunisia did manage a late consolation, when Khazri swept home Hamdi Nagguez's cross but, unless Panama beat England, they will become the third African team to be eliminated, leaving Nigeria and Senegal to carry their continent's hopes.

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Hazard scores 'fantastic' fourth for Belgium

Lukaku level with Ronaldo in race for Golden Boot

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Lukaku scores Belgium's second against Tunisia

Lukaku now has four goals at this World Cup, putting him level with Cristiano Ronaldo at the front of the race for the Golden Boot.

Hazard criticised his former Chelsea team-mate for going missing during the first half of Belgium's opening win over Panama, but the striker's contribution in the first 45 minutes here could not be questioned.

He galloped clear inside the first three minutes, bringing Ben Mustapha rushing from his line to block, and setting the tone for Belgium's ambitious approach.

As well as scoring twice, Lukaku also brought a fine save out of the Tunisia keeper from a Hazard cross and his only lapse was a heavy touch from a Kevin de Bruyne pass when he was put through on goal again.

He was taken off after 59 minutes, much to the relief of the Tunisian defenders, although Batshuayi continued to torment them.

Ankle permitting, Lukaku will surely be back to face England, and on this evidence he will be hard to stop.

After the match, Hazard praised the Manchester United striker's performance.

"This game we won, so we are happy," he told the BBC. "We played well and scored five goals. We conceded two, but we can improve on that. However, now we enjoy the next four days and then play England for the top of the group.

"It's easy to play with Lukaku - pass him the ball and he scores every time. He was fantastic."

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World Cup 2018: Martinez confirms he'll rest players for England game

Tunisia can start planning their trip home

Tunisia showed far more attacking intent than in their defeat by England, and did not struggle to create chances in a wide-open game.

The Carthage Eagles had 16 shots, with five on target, compared to just one out of a total of four efforts against the Three Lions.

They at least showed some fight in a game they realistically had to win to have any chance of staying in the competition, but in truth they were outclassed.

While the jubilant Belgium fans were singing 'please don't take me home' long after the final whistle, the Tunisia players can start thinking about their return flights from Russia.

Before then, they will face Panama on Thursday, hoping to avoid finishing bottom of Group G.

Man of the match - Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)

Romelu Lukaku (right)
None of his team-mates will be criticising his performance this time

'We apologise to the Tunisia fans' - the reaction

Tunisia coach Nabil Maaloul: "As expected, it was a very difficult match.

"Ever since we were drawn into this group we knew Belgium were going to be a tough opponent. We would like to apologise to the Tunisian fans who were numerous in the stadium.

"However, we did our best and we will try to improve our performance in the future."

Lukaku equals Maradona achievement - the stats

  • Belgium have won each of their past six World Cup group-stage matches - winning their last one in 2002, all three in 2014 and their opening two of this tournament.
  • Tunisia are winless in 13 World Cup matches (D4 L9) - losing their past four in a row.
  • Lukaku has scored more goals in major international tournaments (European Championship and World Cups) than any other Belgium player (seven).
  • Lukaku has scored 17 goals in his past 11 matches for Belgium, failing to score in just one of those matches (against Portugal earlier this month).
  • Belgium have scored five goals in a single World Cup match for the first time in their history.
  • Lukaku is the first player to score two or more goals in consecutive World Cup appearances since Diego Maradona in 1986. He scored doubles against England and Belgium.
  • Hazard's penalty was Belgium's second quickest goal in a World Cup match (5:59), behind only Leopold Anoul's goal against England in 1954, in the fifth minute.
  • Belgium have won 11 of their 12 competitive matches under Martinez (D1), scoring 51 goals and conceding just eight in those games.
  • Hazard has been involved in 23 goals in his last 21 appearances for Belgium (11 goals, 12 assists).

What's next?

Belgium finish off their campaign against England at Kaliningrad Stadium next Thursday while Tunisia face Panama in what could be a battle of the Group G basement sides at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk (both 19:00 BST).

Line-ups

Belgium

  • 1Courtois
  • 2Alderweireld
  • 20Boyata
  • 5Vertonghen
  • 15Meunier
  • 7De Bruyne
  • 6Witsel
  • 11Carrasco
  • 14MertensSubstituted forTielemansat 86'minutes
  • 10E HazardSubstituted forBatshuayiat 68'minutes
  • 9LukakuSubstituted forFellainiat 59'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Vermaelen
  • 4Kompany
  • 8Fellaini
  • 12Mignolet
  • 13Casteels
  • 16T Hazard
  • 17Tielemans
  • 18Januzaj
  • 19Dembélé
  • 21Batshuayi
  • 22Chadli
  • 23Dendoncker

Tunisia

  • 1Ben Mustapha
  • 11BronnSubstituted forNagguezat 24'minutes
  • 2S Ben YoussefSubstituted forBenalouaneat 41'minutes
  • 4Meriah
  • 12Maâloul
  • 13SassiBooked at 14minsSubstituted forSlitiat 59'minutes
  • 17Skhiri
  • 7Khaoui
  • 8F Ben Youssef
  • 10Khazri
  • 9Badri

Substitutes

  • 3Benalouane
  • 5Haddadi
  • 6Bedoui
  • 14Ben Amor
  • 15Khalil
  • 16Mathlouthi
  • 18Srarfi
  • 19Khalifa
  • 20Chaalali
  • 21Nagguez
  • 23Sliti
Referee:
Jair Marrufo
Attendance:
44,190

Match Stats

Home TeamBelgiumAway TeamTunisia
Possession
Home50%
Away50%
Shots
Home23
Away16
Shots on Target
Home12
Away5
Corners
Home5
Away2
Fouls
Home12
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Belgium 5, Tunisia 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Belgium 5, Tunisia 2.

Goal!

Goal! Belgium 5, Tunisia 2. Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Hamdi Nagguez.

Saif-Eddine Khaoui (Tunisia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Axel Witsel (Belgium).

Attempt missed. Michy Batshuayi (Belgium) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne.

Foul by Naim Sliti (Tunisia).

Michy Batshuayi (Belgium) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is too high. Assisted by Naim Sliti.

Goal!

Goal! Belgium 5, Tunisia 1. Michy Batshuayi (Belgium) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Youri Tielemans with a cross.

Corner, Belgium. Conceded by Yohan Benalouane.

Offside, Belgium. Yannick Carrasco tries a through ball, but Michy Batshuayi is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Belgium. Youri Tielemans replaces Dries Mertens.

Foul by Saif-Eddine Khaoui (Tunisia).

Marouane Fellaini (Belgium) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Axel Witsel (Belgium) right footed shot from outside the box is too high following a corner.

Corner, Belgium. Conceded by Ali Maâloul.

Attempt blocked. Michy Batshuayi (Belgium) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

Attempt saved. Michy Batshuayi (Belgium) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne.

Attempt missed. Thomas Meunier (Belgium) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high.

Michy Batshuayi (Belgium) hits the bar with a left footed shot from very close range.

Attempt saved. Yannick Carrasco (Belgium) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne.

Foul by Yohan Benalouane (Tunisia).

Dries Mertens (Belgium) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Anice Badri (Tunisia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Marouane Fellaini (Belgium).

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Saif-Eddine Khaoui (Tunisia) because of an injury.

Attempt blocked. Michy Batshuayi (Belgium) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is blocked. Assisted by Dries Mertens with a through ball.

Offside, Belgium. Thomas Meunier tries a through ball, but Dries Mertens is caught offside.

Foul by Ellyes Skhiri (Tunisia).

Marouane Fellaini (Belgium) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Jan Vertonghen (Belgium) because of an injury.

Offside, Belgium. Dries Mertens tries a through ball, but Michy Batshuayi is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Saif-Eddine Khaoui (Tunisia) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left following a set piece situation.

Naim Sliti (Tunisia) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Dedryck Boyata (Belgium).

Hand ball by Dries Mertens (Belgium).

Substitution

Substitution, Belgium. Michy Batshuayi replaces Eden Hazard.

goal

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Russia22008176
2Uruguay22002026
3Egypt200214-30
4Saudi Arabia200206-60

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Spain21104314
2Portugal21104314
3Iran21011103
4Morocco200202-20

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1France22003126
2Denmark21102114
3Australia201123-11
4Peru200202-20

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Croatia22005056
2Nigeria21012203
3Iceland201113-21
4Argentina201114-31

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Brazil21103124
2Switzerland21103214
3Serbia21012203
4Costa Rica200203-30

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Mexico22003126
2Germany21012203
3Sweden21012203
4South Korea200213-20

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belgium22008266
2England11002113
3Panama100103-30
4Tunisia200237-40

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Japan11002113
2Senegal11002113
3Poland100112-10
4Colombia100112-10
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