Belgium beat Tunisia 5-2 in their FIFA World Cup Group G preliminary round football (soccer) match at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Russia on Saturday.
Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard scored two goals each (a brace) in a dominant Belgium display, leading their team in the highest scoring game of the World Cup so far.
The Belgians held a 3-1 edge at halftime in the Group G clash.
The Red Devils were rampant at times and rested both forwards in the second half for tougher tests ahead. A spot in the round of 16 is almost certain for Belgium after an opening 3-0 win over Panama.
Belgium had a two-goal lead within 16 minutes. Hazard scored with a sixth-minute penalty kick he earned by being tripped, and Lukaku angled a low, left-foot shot into the corner of the opposing goal.
The Tunisians cut the lead when defender Dylan Bronn headed in a goal in the 18th minute, but Belgium wasn’t done.
Lukaku clipped a right-foot shot over advancing goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha in first-half stoppage time to match Cristiano Ronaldo with four goals as the tournament’s top scorers.
Hazard then ran on to a long pass in the 51st, flicked the ball around Ben Mustapha and shot into an empty net. Substitute Michy Batshuayi made it a rout in stoppage time, and failed with three other good scoring chances.
Tunisia captain Wahbi Khazri got his team’s second with almost the last kick of the match.
Earning the penalty kick, Hazard darted forward at speed and was clipped by Syam Ben Youssef. Video review confirmed the trip was on the white line of the penalty area, not outside as Tunisia claimed.
Lukaku is now tied with Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo with four goals in the tournament, leading all World Cup scorers. Lukaku now has 40 career international scores. He also has back-to-back games with at least two goals. Lukaku also scored twice in Belgium’s 3-0 win against Panama on Monday at Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi.
This is the first time Belgium have registered five goals in a World Cup match. It’s the Red Devils’ 11th match undefeated in the World Cup group stages.
Tunisia are now 13 matches without a win in the World Cup.
This was the ninth 5-2 in World Cup history. The most recent was France 5-2 Switzerland in 2014. Belgium suffered a 5-2 defeat to Germany in 1934
The win put Belgium in a very strong position atop the pool. Only a win for Panama in tomorrow’s game between Los Canaleros and England would be enough to save Tunisia from elimination. A win for England in that game would see both Belgium and the Three Lions through to the Round of 16, making their game in Kaliningrad on Thursday a shootout for top spot.
Belgium plays its final Group G match against England at 2 p.m. Thursday at Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad.
“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 today. However, we did our best and we will try to improve our performance in the future.” Nabil Maaloul, Tunisia coach said after the game.
A total of 32 national football teams are participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, held in 11 cities across Russia between June 14 and July 15.
The teams were divided into eight groups, with four in each, and the top two from their relevant groups will proceed to the next round, known as the playoffs or the knockout stage, to keep vying for the much-coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy.
Russia is holding its first time ever edition of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14. The World Cup is being held at 12 arenas across 11 cities with the final set to be played at Luzhniki on July 15. The 11 host cities are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.