Belgium's forward Dries Mertens (C) gestures after scoring the opening goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group G football match between Belgium and Panama at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi on June 18, 2018. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MOBILE PUSH ALERTS/DOWNLOADS        (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Belgium 3-0 Panama Player Ratings: Manchester United Forward Romelu Lukaku Stars for the Red Devils

Despite a lack lustre first half from the Red Devils, Belgium opened their World Cup with a very comfortable win over Panama following goals from Dries Mertens and Romelu Lukaku.


Though a poor overall performance, which lacked ideas in the first half but improved later on, Belgium will be happy to win their first group game. Panama, however, can take some positives from a game which they were always unlikely to get anything from.


Here's a look at how the players performed:

1. Belgium: Goalkeepers & Defenders

Thibaut Courtois 6/10 - He didn't have much to do all game but did make a good save against Murillo in the second half.


Toby Alderweireld 6/10 - A solid performance, but didn't have much to do all game.


Dedryck Boyata 5/10 - Again, didn't have much to do other than help string some passes together.


Jan Vertonghen 7/10 - Often tried to play further up the field and play out of the defence. A solid performance all-round.

2. Belgium: Midfielders

Thomas Meunier 5/10 - Some reckless challenges in the first half earned him an unnecessary booking. He failed to have any real impact.


Kevin De Bruyne 7/10 - KBD's assist for Lukaku's goal was sublime. Unfortunately in the first half, he played too deep to get a real hold on the game.


Axel Witsel 6/10 - A solid performance, but didn't impress too much.


Yannick Carrasco 5/10 - Had some good attacks in the first half, but completely avoided his defensive duties, falling asleep for Panama's main chance. Eventually subbed off for Dembele.

3. Belgium: Forwards

Dries Mertens 8/10 - Following numerous chances in the first half, he managed to score a wonderful goal in the second half.


Romelu Lukaku 9/10 - The Manchester United man missed a chance early on in the second-half, but managed to get his name on the score sheet twice, one of which involved a sublime chip over the keeper.


Eden Hazard 7/10 - He produced some lovely moments of skill, including an audacious back heel. The Chelsea man managed to bag an assist for the third goal.

4. Belgium: Substitutes

Mousa Dembele 6/10 - Looked comfortable against a weaker side, but didn't have much to do.


Thorgan Hazard N/A - Difficult to rate as he was subbed on later in the game, whilst the Belgians were dominating.


Nacer Chadli N/A - Came on with only one minute left.

5. Panama: Goalkeeper & Defenders

Jaime Penedo 8/10 - Produced a number of impressive saves, most notably against Mertens and Hazard. There was absolutely nothing he could do about the three goals, and - in truth - did well to keep it at 3-0.


Michael Murillo 7/10 - Defended well against top class players throughout the game. 


Roman Torres 7/10 - An appalling back pass which nearly awarded Hazard a free goal was followed by a courageous defensive display.


Fidel Escobar 6/10 - Some good defensive headers, but largely struggled to cope against a strong Belgian side. A strong free kick at the end of the game gave Courtois something to think about.


Eric Davis 6/10 - Looked utterly lost in the first half, making some poor decisions, but slowly grew into the game. Almost managed to create a chance near the end of the match.

6. Panama: Midfielders

Edgar Barcenas 6/10 - Got forward well, but ultimately let himself down by picking up a yellow card following a number of unnecessary fouls.


Armando Cooper 7/10 - Tidy on the ball throughout.


Gabriel Gomez 5/10 - The midfielder struggled to get a hold on the game, almost rugby-tackling Lukaku on one occasion.


Anibal Godoy 5/10 - Didn't offer much throughout the game, and was booked late on


Jose Luis Rodriguez 7/10 - Lively attacking play which unfortunately led to nothing. Gave Meunier a headache in the first half before being subbed off.

7. Panama: Forward

Blas Perez 7/10 - Had very little service all-game due to Belgium's dominance throughout the match, but showed an impressive work-rate nonetheless, and chased down lost causes frequently. He faced thankless task against the Belgians, but certainly showed he willing to work hard for a result.

 

8. Panama: Substitutes

Gabriel Torres 6/10 - Panama had been played out of the game by the time he was subbed on and he did little to change that.


Ismael Diaz 7/10 - His clever movement cause Belgium problems.


Luis Tejada 6/10 - Nearly managed to get on the end of a cross to get a goal back, but ultimately had little impact.