FIFA World Cup 2018: On one hand, Belgium is all set to make its mark on the FIFA World Cup 2018 as the favourites, Panama will be playing its first quadrennial tournament. Belgium and Panama will go head-to-head against each other at the Fisht Stadium, Sochi. Talking of the favourites in the match, the Roberto Martinez team has a host of talented players to choose from and the team are ranked third in the world.
There front three comprising of Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, and Dries Mertens are of the highest quality and they are backed up by the magician Kevin De Bruyne. There is no possible weakness in the team, however, the way Brazil, Germany and Argentina have failed to take on the small teams, no one can tell how easy would it be for the men dressed in orange.
As for Panama, they will be at their first World Cup after a dramatic finish above the USA in CONCACAF qualifiers. Their strength lies in the fact that they are the underdogs. It means, whatever happens, they will not go down without a fight. They will work hard, would like to repeat their performance against Denmark in March. Román Torres, the forward who was arguably the star of the qualifiers, has been injured and will not travel to Russia in the best shape.
Belgium vs Panama, FIFA World CUP 2018 LIVE Score
GOAL! Belgium 1-0 Panama (Mertens 47)
48 min: That was a fine, technically perfect goal from Mertens. Belgium had a corner and the ball was floated into the penalty area and only half-cleared following a n impromptu game of head tennis. Standing near the edge of the area on the right side having taken the corner, Mertens’ technique could scarcely have been better as he sent a dipping volley into the bottom left-hand corner.
Half-time: Belgium 0-0 Panama
Peep! Janny Sikazwe signals for the break and Panama go in having kept Belgium scoreless. Belgium have been very lethargic and sluggish; a team of great players and no apparent plan. If Panama could somehow nick a goal, it’s not difficult to imagine this Belgium team having an England-v-Iceland type meltdown.
Belgium v Panama is go!!!
Having heard the first-ever rendition of their national anthem at a World Cup finals, Panama’s pumped supporters in Sochi, at home and anywhere else they may be, see their team begin their first ever World Cup match. Panama get the ball rolling ...
If you wish to listen to the Belgium and Panama's national anthem here you go. LISTEN
Hello and welcome to the Belgium vs Panama live blog. Let's just jump to the point. I think either it will be a completely one-sided game with Belgium thrashing the first-times or Panama will be giving a tough time to their opponents just like Iceland gave to Argentina. Here is the starting line-up. Belgium has started with the predicted players but with Vincent Kompany rested.
Here are the squads
BELGIUMGoalkeepers: Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg/GER), Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea/ENG), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool/ENG)
Defenders:Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham/ENG), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic/SCO), Laurent Ciman (Los Angeles/USA – to replace Kompany if unfit), Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City/ENG), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona/ESP), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham/ENG)
Midfielders: Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Yinfang/CHN), Nacer Chadli (West Bromwich Albion/ENG), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City/ENG), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham/ENG), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United/ENG), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad/ESP), Youri Tielemans (Monaco/FRA), Axel Witsel (Tianjin Quanjian/CHN), Thomas Meunier (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA)
Forwards:Michy Batshuayi (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Eden Hazard (Chelsea/ENG), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia M’gladbach/GER), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United/ENG), Dries Mertens (Naples/ITA).
PANAMAGoalkeepers: Jose Calderon (Chorrillo FC), Jaime Penedo (Dinamo Bucharest), Alex Rodriguez (San Francisco FC).
Defenders:Felipe Baloy (CSD Municipal), Harold Cummings (San Jose Earthquakes), Eric Davis (DAC Dunajska Streda), Fidel Escobar (New York Red Bulls), Adolfo Machado (Houston Dynamo), Michael Murillo (New York Red Bulls), Luis Ovalle (CD Olimpia), Roman Torres (Seattle Sounders).
Midfielders:Edgar Barcenas (Cafetaleros de Tapachula), Armando Cooper (Club Universidad de Chile), Anibal Godoy (San Jose Earthquakes), Gabriel Gómez (Bucaramanga), Valentin Pimentel (Plaza Amador), Alberto Quintero (Universitario de Lima), Jose Luis Rodriguez (KAA Gent).
Forwards:Abdiel Arroyo (LD Alajuelense), Ismael Diaz (Deportivo La Coruna), Blas Perez (CSD Municipal), Luis Tejada (Sports Boys), Gabriel Torres (CD Huachipato).