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As it happened: 2018 World Cup - Belgium 5 Tunisia 2

By Joseph Kizza

Added 23rd June 2018 02:16 PM

Tunisia suffer a heavy defeat at the hands of Belgium

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Tunisia suffer a heavy defeat at the hands of Belgium


Live reporting by Joseph Kizza





5:03pm   That's all folks!

If you are the goal galore lover, you definitely enjoyed this game.

The embers are dying out for Tunisia, who are almost certainly exiting the competition after their final group game against Panama.

On the other hand, Belgium have virtually secured a place in the last 16 after two comfortable victories, in which they have scored a total of eight goals - four of which are by Romelu Lukaku.

I sign out now. Meet again tomorrow for Group H's Japan v Senegal match.





  FULL TIME - Belgium  5  Tunisia  2

And a seven-goal thriller is brought to a whirring end by referee Jair Marrufo's final whistle.

Belgium unstoppable. Make that two wins in two games.

Tunisia staring the exit door. Two defeats in two games.

A story of sharp contrasts.








  90min (+3)   GOAL! - Tunisia

Now that's how an enjoyable, very entertaining game should end - with a goal.

It is a consolation second for Tunisia, whose fans won't care. Captain Wahbi Khazri slots in from a Hamdi Naguez intercept to make it two for the Eagles of Carthage.

Unfortunately, that should be the last bit of action of this game.

Belgium 5  Tunisia 2







Belgium are comfortably seeing this one out. Surely.






  90min   GOAL! - Belgium

He finally gets the goal that had proved elusive. Michy Batshuayi sees and finds the net to add gloss to an already heavy win-in-the-making for Belgium. This time, his defiant ambition could not be denied.

Ever since coming on, the attacker has had five shots, with three of them on target.





85min   SUBSTITUTION - Belgium

The Red Devils make their final substitution. Dries Mertens has had a good game today and will give way for Youri Tielemans, who is eager to get onto the pitch for these remaining five minutes.

Belgium 4  Tunisia 1




82min   One-sided affair

This second half has been all Belgium - even with star attackers Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard off, they still carry the sort of threat that can easily see them get a fifth goal in this one.

Roberto Martinez's men have had 11 shots on goal in this one game - more than any side at this edition.




79min   CLOSE! - Belgium

Tunisia appear to have given up here. And it is all there for the crowd inside Spartak Stadium and the rest of the world to see.

Again, they allow Belgium to loiter in their area. This time, Yannick Carrasco sends a rasping shot goalwards, which is blocked, allowing Batshuayi to try his luck at goal. Again, he is denied.

So close, yet so far!

Belgium 4  Tunisia 1



76min   CLOSE! - Belgium

Substitute Michy Batshuayi nearly makes it five for Belgium - and his first World Cup goal.

But after rounding Tunisian goalkeeper Mustapha, Yassine Meriah clears his goal-bound shot off the line.

So close!



71min   OUCH! - Vertonghen

Jan Vertonghen, who took the armband from substituted Hazard to assume the captaincy of Belgium, looks uncomfortable.

He appears to have had a knock mid-air during a challenge. His opposite Wahbi Khazri approaches him to check whether all is OK.

But Vertonghen has to be walked off the pitch for confirmation that he can continue to play. He is given the green light and trots back to cover his position.



66min   SUBSTITUTION! - Belgium

A key tie beckons. Belgium next meet England in their final group game.

And perhaps to protect one of their gems, they decide to take off Hazard and replace him with Michy Batshuayi, who is on-loan at Borussia Dortmund from Chelsea.

The Red Devils seem content with their goal loot.

Belgium 4  Tunisia 1




60min   CLOSE! - Belgium

Belgium are a side that have a huge appetite for goals at the moment. A nifty dummy by Hazard does the trick near the edge of the Tunisian box, allowing Yannick Carrasco to release a rasping shot over the bar.

On another day, that would go in.

Belgium 4  Tunisia 1



58min   SUBSTITUTION - Tunisia

Almost immediately, Tunisia exhaust their substitutes. Ferjani Sassi is the man off and Naim Sliti is the fresh pair of legs coming on.

Belgium 4  Tunisia 1



56min   SUBSTITUTION - Belgium

No hattrick for Romelu Lukaku today.

The brace scorer is taken off and on comes his fluffy-haired Manchester United teammate Maroune Fellaini.







  51min   GOAL! - Belgium

Make that two goals for Eden Hazard.


Again, Tunisia in very big trouble!

Toby Alderweireld has good vision, and drops in a long ball from the Belgian half to find Hazard. The Chelsea man chests down the ball under pressure, evades goalkeeper Mustapha, before tapping into an empty goal.

Clean like that.

Belgium 4  Tunisia 1





48min   CLOSE! - Tunisia

How close was that!

Tunisia have returned with a mission. A mission to get out of the blocks quicker and with that perhaps fashion an early second-half goal.

Twice they make meaningful attacks in front of the Thibaut Courtois-manned goal.

In one of the chances, Ali Maaloul sweeps in a cross that nearly finds captain Wahbi Khazri - but the skipper, despite his stretch, is offside.




   KICKOFF! - Second half

This half promises to be a banger.

We are underway.



2:55pm   Belgium 3  Tunisia 1

Tunisia have never beaten  European opposition at the World Cup. From the evidence of the first half here, the script is reading exactly like it has in the past.

They will have to score two goals without reply to get back on course. Can they fashion some sort of a fightback in Moscow?

In the opening half, Belgium enjoyed more of the ball: 56% v Tunisia's 44%



HALF TIME! - Belgium 3  Tunisia 1

The Red Devils take a healthy lead over the Eagles of Carthage into the break.






  45min (+3)   GOAL! - Belgium

Oh my word!

Just a minute after failing to score once played in by De Bruyne, Lukaku makes up for that profligacy.

Thomas Meunier feeds the lanky attacker, who is onside, and does well to chip over the advancing Mustapha to ensure Belgium goes into the break two goals better.

Lukaku has now bagged four goals at this tournament - the same tally as Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo. The race for the Golden Boot is so on!

Belgium 3  Tunisia 1







In case you are wondering why all that amount of added time, this half has seen several halts - freekicks, penalties and injury scenarios.



43min   Belgium 2  Tunisia 1

Two minutes to stoppage time and the complexion of the game is thus: both sides have decided to keep the ball, do less attacking as they see out this entertaining opening half.



40min   SUBSTITUION -  Tunisia

Speaking of injuries, if you are a Tunisia fan, look away now.

Syam Ben Yousef is injured, prompting the Tunisian medical team to jog onto the pitch with a stretcher. Soon, they assess his situation and opt to carry the defender off the pitch. Game over for him.

Ben Aloune replaces him.

That is the third substitution that the Eagles have had to make before half time at this tournament.




36min   Belgium 2   Tunisia 1

The injury ghosts are proving to haunt Tunisia. Now it is the captain, Wahbi Khazri, who is down.

From the look of things, the effects of an earlier knock seem to trouble the skipper, who has to first walk off the pitch for medical attention.

But soon, he is back on the pitch - wearing a look of unease though.



30min   Belgium 2   Tunisia 1

Worried looks around the Tunisian camp?

Or is that a hopeful look?





26min   SUBSTITUTION - Tunisia

A heartbreaking, early exit for injured goalscorer Dylan Bronn who has to be stretchered off the pitch and be replaced by Hamdi Naguez.

Despite the circumstances under which the Tunisian has to leave the game, the crowd is kind enough to give him a warm applause. His goal has brought Tunisia back into the bigger picture at a time things has started going from bad to worse.



22min   Belgium unshaken

If you think that goal shook Roberto Martinez's side, think again.

The Belgians have not taken the foot off the pedal just yet. Another attack sees the attacking line fashion something in front of the Tunisian goal but the goalkeeper is fully alert.






  18min   GOAL - Tunisia

Wow! On which planet is this game from?

And two minutes after going two goals down, Dylan Bronn pulls one back for the Eagles of Carthage from a freekick delivered by captain Wahbi Khazri.

Now that's the kind of reaction that tactician Nabil Maaloul would have demanded from his players.

Game on!

Belgium 2 Tunisia 1









  16min   GOAL - Belgium

Romelu Lukaku makes it two for Belgium.


It is becoming embarrassing now. The constant pressure from the Europeans again tells. Dries Mertens feeds in an advancing Lukaku and the Manchester United forward does what he does best - score.

Belgium 2  Tunisia 0






13min   YELLOW CARD - Tunisia

Things are going downhill for Tunisia - and very fast at that. Ferjani Sassi is the first victim of the referee's book after his reaction towards the referee's decision to award a freekick to Belgium following his foul on Hazard.

The north Africans are treading a thin line at the moment.

Belgium 1 Tunisia 0



12min   Belgium on the roll

Belgium are looking like a side hungry for goals at the moment. Yannick Carrasco is a constant menace on the left wing, as is an ever lurking Hazard and a lanky Romelu Lukaku upfront.



08min   13 penalties so far

By the way, that was the 13th penalty at this World Cup so far.

Ten of them have been successfully converted.





  06min   GOAL - Belgium

Cool as ice!

Hazard, the captain of Belgium who plays his club football at Chelsea FC, converts successfully by sending a well beaten Ben Mustapha.

Beautifully taken.

Belgium draw first blood. Tunisia in trouble.

Belgium 1  Tunisia 0






05min   PENALTY - Belgium

Syam Ben Yousef clips Eden Hazard right on the edge and the Belgium forward goes tumbling onto the ground.

Is it a penalty?

A brief moment of protest and anxiety from the Tunisian camp as the referee considers his decision.

Yes it is.

Penalty to Belgium.




   KICKOFF! - First half

US referee Jair Marrufo's whistle sets the game in motion as Belgium gets us underway.

The Europeans, who have never lost to African opposition at the World Cup, make their intentions known with an early free-kick in the first 20 seconds.

Kevin de Bruyne's take is a waste though. Tunisian goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha easily collects.



2:57pm   Anthems

Tunisian coach Nabil Maaloul sheds a tear at the end of his nation's anthem. This is a very emotional affair for him as he takes his seat.

Kick-off shortly.



2:52pm   Glorius Moscow sunshine

Half of the Spartak Stadium is soaking in some glorious Moscow sunshine ahead of a pivotal encounter in front of a vibrant crowd.

Tunisia have a mighty task ahead - against a side unbeaten in their last 20 games.

The temperatures are sweltering. Can the Eagles of Carthage handle the real heat on the pitch?

They have 90 minutes of football to prove so.



2:47pm   LINEUPS - Tunisia

Tuniisia, on the other hand, have elected for a 4-3-3 look.

Farouk Ben Mustapha, Yassine Meriah, Syam Ben Yousef, Dylan Bronn, Ali Maaloul, Anice Badri, Saifeddine Khaoui, Ferjani Sassi, Ellyes Skhiri, Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, Wahbi Khazri




2:45pm   LINEUPS - Belgium

Belgium are going with a 3-4-3 formation.

Thibaut Courtois, Jan Vertonghen, Dedryck Boyata, Toby Alderweireld, Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Yannick Carrasco, Thomas Meunier, Dries Mertens, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku




2:35pm   Referees warming up

Oh yes, even the match officials do warm up ahead of the game.

To be fair, they do quite a considerable amount of running during the game as the players.

Kick-off is at 3:00pm Ugandan time.




2:27pm   Splash of colour

It is safe to say that there is an overwhelming amount of colour in and around Spartak Stadium in Moscow - the host of this afternoon's Group G clash.




2:20pm   A do-or-die tie

The first action of Saturday's World Cup menu sees Tunisia play Belgium in a bid to arrest their looming early exit from the tournament.

Hello and welcome. I will be taking you through this afternoon's match, which kicks off in less than an hour from now - at 3:00pm Ugandan time.

Keep it right here.

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