Belgium’s creativity and power proved too much for World Cup debutants Panama as the Group G favourites overcame the heroics of goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and a massed defence to run out 3-0 winners on Monday.
It took a wonderful dipping volley from Dries Mertens on the right-hand edge of the area just after halftime to break the deadlock, however, giving Penedo no chance after a first half in which he had defied Mertens, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku.
Hazard laid the ball off to Kevin De Bruyne who flipped a diagonal ball with the outside of his foot through for a lurking Lukaku to head home in the 69th minute.
The Manchester United striker made it 3-0 in the 75th, latching on to a through pass from Hazard and chipping over Penedo.
Belgium, unbeaten in their last 20 matches, will now be full of confidence for games against Tunisia and England.