Chelsea Winger Accuses Belgium Teammate and Man Utd Forward of ‘Hiding’ in First Half of Panama Win

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Belgium captain Eden Hazard had some constructive criticism for his international teammate and Premier League rival Romelu Lukaku following Les Diables Rouges’ victory over Panama in group G’s opening match on Monday afternoon.

The first-half saw Los Canaleros put up a sterling defensive effort and effective ‘gamesmanship’ (Panama ended the match with five yellow cards) as they frustrated Lukaku and the Red Devils to enter the break 0-0.

Belgium came out for the second half with far more cutting edge as Dries Mertens’ spectacular volley broke the deadlock, before Lukaku added two goals of his own – the second following a sublime through ball from Hazard.

And Hazard revealed to reporters that he had some choice words for the Man Utd striker during the halftime break, saying via the Sun: “I told Romelu at half time that we needed him. He was hiding away on his own up front in the first half.

“Even though we have good players, it is not easy for us to play with a man short. Once he got involved in the game, as if by magic, he scored two goals. I hope he will understand.

“He did not have a bad game. He scored twice, so everyone is happy. It is good for his confidence. But I want him to try to get more involved in the game, especially during the first half – as we know what he can do.”

“We showed we were present. We scored goals, kept a clean sheet and everybody was able to play. Let’s see whether the best is yet to come.”

Hazard is clearing taking his captain’s duties seriously at this summers World Cup as Belgium look to reach their potential, considering the wealth of talent within their ranks.

He may also look to keep Lukaku on his toes after playing with him briefly at Chelsea, where the 25-year-old was sparsely used by then-manager Jose Mourinho – who, ironically enough, is Lukaku’s manager once more at Manchester United.

Fans of the Red Devils and Les Diables Rouge will draw confidence from Hazard’s man-management of Lukaku, given how he responded in the second half, and will hope that it inspires the powerful forward to greater heights at the World Cup and next season in the Premier League.

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