Moscow, June 23 (IANS) Belgium forwards Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku scored two goals each to help their national team thrash Tunisia 5-2 on Saturday, advancing to the 2018 FIFA World Cup knockout stage.
After beating Panama 3-0 in the Group G opening round on Monday, the Belgian side earned its second victory, qualifying for the round of 16 regardless of the result of their upcoming clash against England on June 28, reports Efe.
This defeat leaves Tunisia, which suffered a 2-1 loss against England on Monday, with almost no hope of reaching the last 16.
Belgium opened the scoring with an early goal in the sixth minute from a penalty converted by Hazard, while Lukaku doubled their lead 10 minutes later off an assist from Hazard.
After just two minutes, Tunisia responded with a goal from Dylan Bronn, and the North African team dominated the game for almost 20 minutes but had no luck finding the equaliser.
Tunisia coach Nabil Maaloul hwas forced to make two changes due to the injury of starters Dylan Bronn and Syam Ben Youssef in the 24th and 40th minutes respectively, with the latter leaving the field on a stretcher.
Bronn was replaced by Hamdi Nagguez, while Ben Youssef was replaced by Yohan Benalouane.
In the last minute of the first half, Lukaku netted the third goal for Belgium, tying Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo for the top scorer of the 2018 World Cup with four goals.
Lukaku has also become Belgium’s all-time World Cup scorer with seven goals, one more than midfielder Jan Ceulemans.
Hazard added his team’s fourth goal just six minutes into the second half.
Michy Batshuayi-Atunga drove home Belgium’s win with the final goal in the 90th minute, while Wahbi Khazri scored the Tunisia’s second goal in stoppage time.
Belgium leads Group G with six points, three points ahead of second-placed England, while Panama and Tunisia are third and fourth with zero points.