An outstanding volley from Dries Mertens was the pick of the goals in a 3-0 triumph as Belgium overcame a resistant Panama at Fisht Stadium.
It took for the second half for the overwhelming class difference to show on the score-line as Panama gave a good account of themselves on their World Cup debut.
The first half was frustrating for Belgium who dominated possession but were unable to carve out many chances as Panama stood strong.
Kevin De Bruyne was the architect, orchestrating from deep then making let runs past the front three and almost picked out Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku.
A right footed drive was brilliantly intercepted by captain Roman Torres, a story of the opening half. Eden Hazard was denied by Jaime Penedo at his near post as the half drew to a close.
The second half began with a bang. A header away fell to Dries Mertens on the far right of the box and with a first-time volley, he left Penedo stranded, stunning goal and contender for goal of the tournament.
This allowed the Belgians to relax and from there on it was comfortable for Roberto Martinez’s side.
They added some more gloss to the score line late on as De Bruyne deflty picked out Lukaku with the outside of his boot who headed home. The leading man then made it a brace for him on 75 minutes when he chipped the on-rushing Pinedo from Hazard’s pass.
They take the early lead in Group G with England and Tunisia taking to the field this evening.