LUKAKU, Hazard Roast Tunisia In 5-2 Rout
By Guy Atkinson
ROMELU Lukaku and Eden Hazard both scored braces as Belgium crushed Tunisia 5-2 to all but secure their place in the World Cup knockout stages.
The Red Devils just need England to avoid defeat to Panama in Sunday’s other Group G game to confirm their last-16 spot and no team at Russia 2018 will want to be drawn against Roberto Martinez’s side after this swashbuckling display.
Belgium were dominant from the outset, taking a 2-0 lead inside 16 minutes through Hazard’s penalty and Lukaku’s fine finish.
Dylan Bronn then handed the African side an unlikely lifeline before Lukaku – who scored twice in the opening 3-0 win over Panama – restored Belgium’s lead to become his country’s all-time top scorer at major tournaments with seven goals.
Hazard netted his second early in the second half, while substitute Michy Batshuayi – who had earlier missed three golden opportunities – scored a fifth in the 90th minute. Wahbi Khazri bagged a late consolation for Tunisia, but it did little to take the shine off a memorable result for Belgium.
Any faint hopes that Tunisia had of clawing their way back into the game were extinguished six minutes into the second half when Hazard scored his second.
Toby Alderweireld’s long pass from defence was taken on the chest by Hazard, who then rounded Mustapha to stroke into an empty net.
With the game essentially wrapped up, Martinez opted to bring Lukaku off before the hour, the striker having picked up a knock on his foot earlier in the game.
Yannick Carrasco came close to adding a fifth goal when his whipped effort from outside the area fizzed agonisingly past the post, while Batshuayi saw an effort cleared off the line by Yassine Meriah after he had rounded the goalkeeper.
Batshuayi looked like he would endure a miserable afternoon after two more missed opportunities – one crashing back off the crossbar from close-range – but the Chelsea man finally scored late on, meeting Youri Tielemans’ fine cross at the back post with a controlled half-volley.