Belgium and Mexico powered towards the last 16 of the World Cup on Saturday with convincing victories.
Tournament dark horses Belgium produced an imperious display to overwhelm Tunisia, with Premier League stars Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard scoring two apiece in a 5-2 rout at Moscow’s Spartak Stadium.
The one-sided victory cemented Belgium’s place at the top of Group G and all but guaranteed their place in the knockout rounds, with just one group game, against England, remaining.
Manchester United striker Lukaku took his goals tally to the tournament to four as the Red Devils carved open Tunisia’s defence with an impressive attacking display.
Chelsea playmaker Hazard fired Belgium into an early lead from the penalty spot before Lukaku found the net in the 16th minute, adding another on the stroke of half-time.
Hazard added another in the 51st minute before substitute Michy Batshuayi added the fifth in the 90th minute.
Dylan Bronn and captain Wahbi Khazri grabbed consolation goals for Tunisia, who now face almost certain elimination.
“We are a good team, we want to reach the final and we are stronger than four years ago,” said Belgium captain Hazard, the man-of-the-match.
“The match was easy because we scored after five minutes and knew Tunisia would leave spaces as they needed to win, making it easier for us.”
Belgium and England will qualify for the last 16 on Sunday if England defeat Panama in Nizhny Novgorod.
Mexico meanwhile showed that their shock defeat of Germany last weekend was no fluke with a 2-1 defeat of South Korea in Rostov-on-Don in Saturday’s second game.
Javier Hernandez scored his 50th international goal for Mexico
West Ham striker Javier Hernandez grabbed his 50th international goal while Los Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela was also on target from the penalty spot.
South Korea scored a late consolation strike from Tottenham’s Son Heung-min, but it was too little too late for the Asian giants, who desperately needed a victory after defeat by Sweden in their opening game.
The win leaves Mexico in pole position to win Group F with six points from two games. A point against Sweden in their final game will guarantee them a place in the last 16.
Mexico could even advance before then if Germany fail to beat Sweden later Saturday in Sochi.