Germany, Spain, who? Belgium are the real favourites in Russia

The Belgians arrived in Russia as one of the favourites and their reputation is intact after playing their opening game.

The Red Devils made nonsense of the “tournament for the minnows” moniker by putting in an assured performance to down their Caribbean counterparts.

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In a tournament where most of the so-called favourites have so far not come to the party, Roberto Martinez’s side finally laid down the gauntlet. Where others failed, Belgium have succeeded.

Many may argue that the Europeans faced a hapless Panama side, however, the emphatic nature of the result cannot be underestimated. The Red Devils took time to get going but once they settled in the second half there was no stopping them.

This was by no means a vintage performance from Belgium, but the underperformance of other teams in the tournament puts the Red Devils on top of the form index.

The likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Brunye and Romelu Lukaku were all on song as the trio combined to deadly effect to down their opponents.

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So far the Germanys, Argentinas, Brazils, Frances and Spains have flattered to deceive in Russia, but Belgium remain the only team in the bracket of favourites to have kept their reputation intact.

It may be early days yet, however, the 3-0 drubbing of Panama is warning enough to other rivals that Belgium are the real favourites in Russia.

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