Tunisia coach Nabil Maaloul blames forced subs for defeat to Belgium

by Steven Clarke June 24, 2018, 14:10

And Hazard got his fourth by leaving the goalkeeper in the dust.

Saif-Eddine Khaoui will start for Tunisia, replacing Naim Sliti, against an unchanged Belgian line-up as coach Nabil Maaloul looks to attack the World Cup Group G seeds to secure the win they need to keep their last 16 hopes alive.

Should Belgium lose their final game against England, now on three, and if pointless Panama somehow beat England and Tunisia, all three would have six points and the top two would be decided on goal difference, though it would need a footballing freak show to stop Roberto Martinez's side.

Unless Panama beat England in Sunday's Group G match, Belgium will be through with a game to spare while Tunisia will be out.

He indicated Belgium will be particularly vigilant during set-pieces, noting that 60 percent of goals at the tournament so far had come from dead-ball situations, including both of Harry Kane's strikes in England's 2-1 win over Tunisia. A huge roar goes out from the Belgium supporters as their national anthem is been sung, we are minutes away from the kick-off.

The pressure couldn't be sustained by Tunisia and on the stroke of halftime it was Lukaku who would blow the game wide open.

It was the second-earliest goal scored by a Belgium player at a World Cup after Leopold Anoul scored in the fifth minute in 1954.

Things quickly got worse for Tunisia when Ali Maaloul's heavy touch on the halfway line allowed Dries Mertens to nip in and release Lukaku, who found a ideal low finish.

The Tunisians cut the lead when defender Dylan Bronn headed in a goal in the 18th minute, but Belgium weren't done.

"Lukaku pulled level with Cristiano Ronaldo on four goals in the race to land the Golden Boot, having become the first man since Diego Maradona in 1986 to score twice in consecutive World Cup games".

Substitute Batshuayi missed a hat-trick of fantastic chances within five minutes before finally finding the target in the 90th with a good finish.


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