FPJ's dream XI predictions for Belgium and Panama

DriesMertens-cropped

Belgium forward Dries Mertens

Panama caused a sensation by qualifying for Russian Federation from the CONCACAF zone at the expense of the United States, but they have been handed just about the toughest start imaginable - a star-studded Belgium await in Sochi on Monday evening. The Panamanians scored just nine in 10 qualifiers, and they arrived in Russian Federation after scoring just one goal in their last five matches.

"It is a result that can't be positive because we lost 3-0 but they could have won by a landslide", Panama coach Hernan Dario Gomez told a news conference.

Group rivals England will look to respond to Belgium's win when they kick off their campaign against Tunisia but this was not entirely the statement of intent that Roberto Martinez's side would have been hoping to make.

The Red Devils, competing in Group G alongside England, Tunisia and Panama, struggled to break the latter down in the first 45 minutes of their World Cup opener in Sochi. Belgium are now leading the match bu 1-0.

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At the other end, Panama tried to expose Belgium's potential weaknesses at full-back. This time their stars including Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku are promising greater returns.

Another alternative to watch Panama vs Belgium is to try out the FuboTV 7-day free trial. After Torres and then Escobar failed to clear, the Napoli attacker sent a looping volley from the corner of the box over Penedo and into the far corner.

Panama's chances were limited to a tame hook from Torres and a speculative effort that flew well over from Armand Cooper. The power and movement of Lukaku will cause problems, and the two centre halves must hold firm against the Manchester United number nine.

"An introduction to a World Cup is always a special but hard moment", Martinez said.

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It was a fine run by Eden Hazard too that set him up. The 3-4-3 still remains a defensive approach though, and while it helps Martinez to include the likes of Carrasco in the team, it might still be hampering the team's attacking capabilities.

De Bruyne appeared restricted alongside Axel Witsel in midfield, while Eden Hazard could not find the required space to make an impact.

If there is one weak link in the Belgian lineup, it is the continued deployment of Yannick Carrasco at left wing-back.

To be fair to Martinez, the Spaniard had warned on the eve of this game that his side would not have it easy.

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Panama pose relatively limited attacking threat and will be tasked primarily with attempting to absorb the pressure of Belgium's likely dominance and attacking force in the match. The heat and humidity here in southern Russian Federation could help them against Belgium, but their recent record is a source of concern, particularly in front of goal.

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