Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has suggested that Belgium need to show their best form in order to progress into the latter stages of the World Cup. The 26-year-old is currently with the Red Devils in Russia and he is expected to start between the sticks during his country’s opening game against Panama.

Speaking ahead of the match, he said: “We are more experienced now. My feeling is that everybody is sharp and ready for the World Cup. We have a group with players knowing each other very well. We are talented and we have to believe in ourselves. If we want to go far in this World Cup we have to be at our best.”

Belgium were declared at the dark horses of the previous World Cup in Brazil where they were eventually ousted in the quarter-final stage. However, this time around, the team has certainly evolved in terms of experience and quality and they are now regarded as one among the key contenders for the global crown.

As such, the failure to reach the quarter-finals once more may be regarded as a huge disappointment for Roberto Martinez’s side, who have got the luck of the draw alongside England. Both teams are widely expected to progress beyond their group after being pitted against Panama and Tunisia and their chances of reaching the quarter-final have been eased further with a relatively easy-looking round of 16 stage.

Should both teams qualify, they are expected to face the first and second-placed teams from Group H involving Poland, Colombia, Senegal, and Japan and this should better their chances of making the last eight. Belgium play their opening game against Panama in Sochi on Monday whilst England take on Tunisia in Volgograd on the same day. Both nations should comfortably pick up wins barring the recent trend which has witnessed underdogs picking up surprise results.