Martinez delight at Belgium response

Roberto Martinez was full of praise for his Belgium side following their 3-0 defeat of Panama in their opening World Cup match on Monday.

Dries Mertens had opened the scoring two minutes after the half-time break before a brace from Romelu Lukaku secured a comprehensive win.

Having been held to a goalless first half, Martinez praised the way his side came out for the second period to produce a “mature” performance.

Speaking after the game, the Belgium head coach said: “I’m delighted. It was exactly what we expected – there are no easy games at the World Cup.

“We started very well but then became frustrated as the first half wore on,” said Martinez in his post-match press conference.

“But I was delighted in the way the team reacted and the commitment everyone showed to keep a clean sheet.

“In the second half we found our composure and the goal from Dries Mertens, a great goal, was so important for us.

“In a World Cup, you have to play for 90 minutes and we had to be prepared to work hard, show maturity and a real togetherness.”

Panama head coach Hernan Dario Gomez, meanwhile, spoke of the emotion in his squad following their opening day loss.

He said: “I think we have learned a lot from today’s game. It was a very emotional day. The team was still very emotional at the start of the match but as time went by, they were able to focus better.

“It was an incredible experience for our country and I think that our performance was not bad. You’re never happy when you lose but I told my players that they lost with dignity. We will keep growing and learning.”