Maaloul, Ben Youssef exposed as Tunisia crushed by Belgium

Jun 26, 2018, 06:29
Maaloul, Ben Youssef exposed as Tunisia crushed by Belgium

Despite topping Group G with six points and a goal difference of plus-six there is still the slimmest of chances Belgium might yet not qualify, though even a heavy defeat in their final game against England would be extremely unlikely to derail them.

Group G wasn't expected to be a close one, with most assuming Belgium and England would roll past the competition to set up a showdown on the final matchday.

The goal means Lukaku became only the fifth Belgium player to score in back-to-back World Cup matches, with Marc Wilmots the last to do it when he scored in every group-stage game in 2002. The Manchester United striker secured two in the Tunisia match, which helped Belgium immensely in their World Cup campaign.

Tunisia captain Wahbi Khazri is hoping his side can show "the good face of Tunisia" following the defeat to England.

Martinez added that Kompany and fellow defender Thomas Vermaelen were "medically ready" after suffering injuries, but lack the match fitness to start against Tunisia.

Hazard also completed his brace five minutes after the break to make it 4-1 for Belgium, beating the offside trap to round the goalkeeper and slot into an empty net. It is really good to see a team coming together, to fight so much for each other.

Lukaku clipped a right-foot shot over advancing goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha in first-half stoppage time.

"As a team we keep improving", he said, playing down his own prospects of claiming World Cup records.

Belgium were much the better team, looking unsafe on nearly every attack, but they were seriously aided and abetted by some ragged defending and non-existing marking from their opponents.

Tunisia will be eliminated if they lose to Belgium on Saturday.

Belgium's at-times sloppy passing and repeated loss of possession by their holding midfielders against Tunisia may be lost amid the enthusiasm of their big victory which all but assures them a spot in the knockout stage.

Substitute Michy Batshuayi made it five for the Red Devils on the 90th minute mark, volleying home Youri Tielemans' defence splitting pass with clinical precision.

Tunisia responded two minutes later when Dylan Bronn headed the ball past Thibaut Courtois at a free-kick. It was the opening game and our squad is made up players who have never played in a World Cup before.

Romelu Lukaku, who scored two against Panama, spearheads the Belgian attack, supported by Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens.

The Red Devils were rampant at times and rested both forwards in the second half for tougher tests ahead.

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