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Hazard and Lukaku braces in Belgium’s 5-2 thumping of Tunisia

Belgium 5 (Hazard 6′ pen, 51′, Lukaku 16′, 45+3, Batshuayi 90′)
Tunisia 2 (Bonn 18′, Khazri 90+3′)

By Ben James

Belgium all but sealed qualification to the next round with a 5-2 win over Tunisia in Moscow.

Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku both scored twice, as Lukaku joined Cristiano Ronaldo on four goals in the race for the Golden Boot award.

The result meant that Belgium moved to the top of Group G with six points, all but mathematically securing its place in the last 16 ahead of England’s match against Panama.

The game burst to life in the fifth minute when Belgian captain Hazard was brought down on the edge of the box by Syam Ben Youssef.

The referee ruled that the contact was made on the line and pointed to the penalty spot despite the Tunisians’ protestations.

Hazard was composed and sent the keeper the wrong way as he placed the ball into the bottom left corner.

Lukaku doubled the lead in the 16th minute when he scored his sixth goal in his last four international appearances, dispatching the ball into the bottom right corner following Dries Mertens’ interception and pass.

Just when it looked like Belgium would run away with the match, Tunisia halved the lead when Dylan Bonn was on the end of Wahbi Khazri’s free kick to head past Thibaout Courtois.

With Tunisia needing a result to remain in contention to progress, they pushed men forward and chances continued to flow at both ends.

Lukaku took advantage of the space just before the break when Thomas Meunier’s reverse pass picked up his run into the box and the Belgium centre forward’s dinked finish over the keeper made it 3-1.

Half-time did nothing to halt Belgium’s momentum. Six minutes after the restart Hazard beat the offside trap to control a long ball from Toby Aldweireld.

His one touch took the ball past the keeper for an easy tap into the open net and a brace for Hazard.

Michy Batshuayi replaced Hazard after the hour mark and made his mark on the match. He had a shot cleared off the line, another rebound back into play off the crossbar, and then scored from Youri Tieleman’s cross.

Tunisia grabbed a late consolation goal through Wahbi Khazri’s one-touch finish from Hamdi Nagguez’ cross.

After the match, Belgium manager Roberto Martinez said there would be chances for squad players in their last group match against England.

“There will be opportunities to give minutes to players who deserve to be in the World Cup and from there we need to assess the three injury doubts that we have from this game.”


Belgium (3-4-3): 1 Courtois; 5 Vertonghen, 20 Boyata, 2 Alderweireld; 11 Carrasco, 6 Witsel, 7 De Bruyne, 15 Meunier: 10 E.Hazard (68′), 9 Lukaku (59′) 14 Mertens (86′)
Substitutes used: 8 Fellaini (59′), 21 Batshuayi (68′), 17 Tielemans (86′)

Tunisia (4-3-3): 1 Ben Mustapha; 12 Maaloul, 4 Meriah, 2 Ben Youssef .S (41′), 11 Bronn (24′) ; 13 Sassi, 17 Skhiri, 7 Khaoui; 9 Badri, 10 Khazri, 8 Ben Youssef .F
Substitutes used: 21 Nagguez (24′), 3 Benalouane (41′), 23 Sliti (59′)

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