Belgium captain and Chelsea star Eden Hazard has revealed that he showed tough love in an attempt to motivate Romelu Lukaku during their country’s 3-0 victory over Panama on Monday.
Belgium convincingly outplayed the Central Americans en route to victory. However the two sides went into half-time deadlocked at 0-0 and it did look as if the Belgians were struggling.
Dries Mertens managed to open the scoring early on during the second half and thereafter the game was all one-way traffic. The class of Belgium began to prevail as Panama struggled to keep up.
This is Panama’s first ever appearance at a World Cup and their inexperience at big tournaments began to show during the second half as they struggled to keep up.
Hazard has revealed that he urged Lukaku to make himself more available during the half-time break after Belgium failed to find an opener.
After earning a move from Everton to Manchester United last summer, Lukaku endured a past season of mixed fortunes as he went on to score 16 goals from 34 Premier League games.
“I told Romelu at halftime that we needed him,” Hazard said after the victory according to the Sun. “He was hiding away on his own up front in the first half.
“Once he got involved in the game, as if by magic, he scored two goals. I hope he will understand.”
Belgium’s win over the minnows means that they stand at the top of their group on goal difference, after England managed to beat Tunisia 2-1 on Monday.
Roberto Martinez’s side next play against Tunisia on Saturday. They are the firm favourites to win this clash but will be tested when they play against England at the Spartak Stadium five days later. This game is likely to be a contest that will determine who tops the group heading into the round of 16 fixtures.