England leave it late in the opening win


Following Brazil and Germany's underwhelming performances on Sunday, we have another three matches of football lined up for day five of the FIFA World Cup from Russian Federation.

"We are not favourites but if we have a good day, we could do something good", he said.

Even though neither player will be fit for the opening game, Belgium chose to send standby defender Laurent Ciman home on Saturday.

The England captain was alive in the box to snatch back a victory that looked to have been taken away by Tunisia's controversial first-half penalty and the wild celebrations that followed showed the value to England's young side.

After Mexico's victory against Germany on Sunday, the second match in Group F, between Sweden and South Korea, suddenly felt a lot more significant, with the loser nearly certain to go home, barring an unlikely win against Germany.

England, winners on football's biggest stage more than half a century ago, crashed out without a win four years ago in Brazil, and haven't won a knock-out match in any tournament since 2006.

The boys from Brussels face Panama, Central America's World Cup debutantes, in Sochi.

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Belgium start their World Cup campaign on more familiar ground: a squad stuffed with stars but with questions over their manager. "I felt from that point on we were more ourselves, we were more in control".

Even the veteran Colombian coach felt the emotions that came with Panama's World Cup debut.

But a minute into the second Dries Mertens broke the deadlock for Belgium in style, looping a superb volley from the edge of the area over the head of Jaime Penedo and into the back of the net. And the fact that Belgium and England don't meet until the final group game means that Roberto Martinez's side can likely use the first couple games to work out the kinks and grow into the tournament before entering fifth gear in the knockout rounds. "I hope we get lucky in that respect".

Lukaku nodded in a sensational Kevin De Bruyne pass and the Manchester United striker then scored a cute chip, though Panama can take heart from a promising display ahead of games against England and Tunisia.

World champions Germany and Mexico are the other two teams in Group F.

Another Russian, legislator Vitaly Milonov, wants to ban "mockery" of their team and fine anyone who criticses them 10,000 rubles.

- Romelu Lukaku has been directly involved in 13 of Belgium's last 19 goals (11 goals, two assists).