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Martinez hails “mature” Belgium display

Belgium v Panama: Group G - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
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Roberto Martinez hailed the “mature” performance that Belgium displayed in their 3-0 victory over Panama in their first game of the World Cup

The Red Devils had a sub-par opening 45 minutes, where they struggled to break through a resilient Panama defence at Sochi.

However, Dries Mertens’ goal in the second-half prompted new life into the squad with Romelu Lukaku later adding a brace to secure a comfortable 3-0 win for Belgium to top Group G.

“I’m delighted. It was exactly what we expected – there are no easy games at the World Cup. We started very well but then became frustrated as the first half wore on,” said Martinez, according to Sky Sports.

“But I was delighted in the way the team reacted and the commitment everyone showed to keep a clean sheet.

“In the second half we found our composure and the goal from Dries Mertens, a great goal, was so important for us.

“In a World Cup, you have to play for 90 minutes and we had to be prepared to work hard, show maturity and real togetherness.”

Next up for Belgium is Tunisia on Saturday at the Otkritie Arena in Moscow.