Thibaut Courtois insists Belgium are among the outsiders for World Cup glory in Russia, suggesting it is wrong to label them one of the tournament favourites.
Roberto Martinez’s squad is laden with talent, boasting the likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku in their ranks.
They also have a strong rearguard, with Chelsea shot stopper Courtois at its base. They open their Group G campaign on Monday against Panama, the 55th-ranked team in the world.
They have ‘quality and talent’, says Courtois, but that doesn’t mean they are among the tournament favourites.
“I think we have the quality and talent. We have a group of players who know each other very well and most of us are in good form,” he said.
“We feel confident but I wouldn’t call us the big, big favourite. I think we are outsiders to win. We have a chance to go far and we have to believe.
“We are not going to say that we will win or that we are the best team. We have the quality to go far and we believe in ourselves. Belief is the beginning of everything.”
Belgium’s best result at a World Cup was when they finished fourth in 1986. Four years ago in Brazil they were eliminated at the quarter-final stage by Argentina while they suffered the same fate at Euro 2016 in a surprise loss to Wales.
Belgium are 6.00 to start with a 3-0 win against Panama, while Hazard can be backed at 5.00 to net the opening goal of the game in Sochi.