SOCHI, Russia (AP) - Romelu Lukaku scored two goals in a six-minute span and Dries Mertens put in another Monday to give Belgium a 3-0 win over Panama at the World Cup.
Saddled with massive expectations and a lineup of talent the envy of others in the tournament, Belgium finally showed flashes of being the dominant team worthy of title consideration.
It took a wonderful strike from Mertens to finally relieve some of the pressure. His perfectly struck volley from about 18 yards came in the 47th minute after Panama was unable to clear a free kick.
Lukaku made it 2-0 in the 69th off a pass by Kevin De Bruyne, and scored his second on a breakaway chip over Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.
Panama, which was making its World Cup debut, was unable to reward its thousands of loud, passionate fans with a goal.
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