Romelu Lukaku scored twice to help Belgium to a 3-0 win over Panama in their opening World Cup Group G game at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi on Monday.
An eye-catching volley from Dries Mertens ended Panama’s resistance two minutes after the restart, and Manchester United striker Lukaku followed with two tidy finishes of his own to make the scoreline more convincing.
Roberto Martinez’s side were quick out of the blocks and forced two early saves out of veteran Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, who kept out Yannick Carrasco and Mertens to prevent his side from suffering a nightmare start.
The Central Americans did not pose much of an attacking threat, but by the time that Armando Cooper fired over from 25 yards on 44 minutes, they had at least managed to quell the danger coming from their star-studded opponents.
That was until Mertens relieved the pressure growing on the Red Devils with a skilful volley on 47 minutes, instinctively lifting the ball over Penedo and inside the far post after Panama had squandered several chances to clear.
Two goals in six minutes from Lukaku then settled proceedings, firstly steering in a 69th-minute header that was supplied by an outside-of-the-boot cross from Kevin De Bruyne.
Another of Belgium’s Premier League stars provided Lukaku with his second as Chelsea playmaker Hazard burst forward on the counter and released the 25-year-old for a deft chip over Penedo – his 38th international goal in 70 caps.