Sochi: A stunning volley from Dries Mertens and a Romelu Lukaku double broke the resistance of a brave Panama side on their World Cup debut as Belgium cruised to a 3-0 win in their opening Group G game on Monday to stay unbeaten in 20 games for the first time in their history. Mertens hammered home a superb volley two minutes into the second half. Lukaku’s hard work up front was rewarded when he headed home Kevin De Bruyne’s brilliant pass off the outside off his foot to make it 2-0 in the 69th minute and the big striker latched on to an Eden Hazard pass to complete the scoring with a neat finish. Roberto Martinez’s men have matched Belgium’s largest-ever World Cup victory margin (3-0 Vs El Salvador in 1970).
Belgium 3-0 Panama
Mertens (47), Lukaku (69, 75)
Mexico quakes with joy
Thousands of Mexico supporters partied in streets of the capital Sunday after their team’s shock 1-0 victory over World Cup holders Germany. The earth literally moved in Mexico City when Hirving Lozano smashed home game-winning goal in 35th minute. Seismologists said that they had detected an “artificial” rumbling, caused by “widespread jumping” when goal was scored.
Sweden down S Korea to bag opener after 60 years
Nizhny Novgorod: A VAR-awarded penalty gave Sweden a narrow but deserved victory in their opening Group F match against a poor South Korea side here on Monday. Veteran Swedish skipper Andreas Granqvist scored the only goal of the game from the spot after Viktor Claesson was upended by South Korean substitute Kim Min-woo Kim in the 62nd minute. Despite furious appeals, referee Joel Aguilar, initially waved away Swedish penalty claims. But after consulting the video, he pointed to the spot. It was the third VAR penalty awarded at these championships. This was Sweden’s first win in their opening match at a World Cup since beating Mexico 3-0 as hosts in 1958, drawing five and losing two since then.
Sweden 1-0 South Korea
Andreas Granqvist 65 (P)
- 1st time South Korea lost their opening match at a World Cup was in 1998.
- 1st goal Sweden scored in 402 minutes of international football.
- 07 World Cup matches S Korea are winless in.
Preview: Mohamed Salah returns as Egypt look to win WC match on 6th attempt
St Petersburg: Russia got their World Cup campaign off to a dream start with a 5-0 thumping of Saudi Arabia but face an entirely different beast in the form of Egypt, who should be revitalised by the return of their talismanic striker Mohamed Salah. The hosts face the north Africans in St Petersburg on Tuesday and defeat would almost certainly condemn Egypt to an early exit.
- Russia top Group A on goal difference ahead of favourites Uruguay. The game plan is simple – get the ball into Salah’s feet quickly and let him do what he does best.
- 03 WCs Egypt have appeared in – in 1934, 1990 and 2018 – but are yet to win a match in five attempts, losing three times, including Friday’s 1-0 defeat by Uruguay, and drawing twice.
- 71%of Egypt’s goals Mo Salah scored during qualification.