Belgium see far beyond Monday's World Cup opener against debutants Panama but need a solid win to settle nerves and rack up goal difference as a "golden generation" of club greats seek finally to deliver as a team.
Defensive injury concerns for veteran squad leader Vincent Kompany and Barcelona's Thomas Vermaelen have eased and coach Roberto Martinez has sent standby defender Laurent Ciman home.
In any case, they may be more needed for Tunisia and then England in Group G, than against Panama. Celtic's...
The 2018 World Cup is just over a month away, and all 32 teams are preparing in earnest for their shot at the trophy in Russia. ESPN FC is previewing every team ahead of the opening game on June 14. Find all 32 teams here.
Who they are
Captain: Roman Torres
Manager: Hernan Dario Gomez
Nickname: Los Canaleros, the Red Wave
FIFA rank (as of April 12, 2018): 56
How they qualified
Panama finished third in CONCACAF's Hexagonal round after a 2-1 win over Costa Rica that featured...
Julio Dely Valdes had been waiting for this moment his entire life. The former Panamanian international player and manager was sitting in his living room in Malaga, Spain. Roman Torres had just scored to put Panama ahead in a crunch World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica. With the U.S. losing 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago, a first qualification for the World Cup was in his country's grasp.
Minutes later the dream became reality, yet Dely Valdes could not celebrate with as much gusto as the moment demanded.