Dries Mertens scored a stunning volley and Romelu Lukaku was twice on target as Belgium started their Group G campaign with a 3-0 defeat of World Cup debutants Panama in Sochi.
Belgium impressed in an unbeaten qualifying campaign, becoming the first European nation to book their place at Russia 2018.
But Roberto Martinez's side struggled to break Panama down in a flat first half at the Fisht Stadium on Monday, requiring a moment of magic from Mertens to break the deadlock in the 47th minute.
Panama almost mustered a rapid leveller but Thibaut Courtois made a smart stop to keep out a low strike from Michael Murillo, before Lukaku struck twice in six minutes to settle the contest.
Lukaku nodded in a sensational Kevin De Bruyne pass and the Manchester United striker then scored a cute chip, though Panama can take heart from a promising display ahead of games against England and Tunisia.
Martinez's golden generation have been tipped as potential champions, but Belgium - beaten by Wales in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals - will likely need to improve on an often-underwhelming performance when they face stronger opposition.
Panama made a nervy start to their World Cup bow with Yannick Carrasco and Mertens forcing early saves from goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.
Eden Hazard hit the side-netting after pouncing on a loose backpass from Roman Torres, Panama's captain making amends with a terrific touch on a low De Bruyne right-wing cross that ensured Lukaku could not tap in at the back post.
Hazard fired wide in the 26th minute and the Chelsea forward, who hinted pre-match he could be interested in joining Real Madrid, was left hobbling by heavy challenges from Murillo and Torres.
The Belgium captain, deputising for the injured Vincent Kompany, shook off the blows and forced Penedo into a save with his legs, as Panama remained relatively comfortable.
Belgium struggled to create clear openings in the first period but within two minutes of the restart they led thanks to an early contender for the goal of the tournament.
Panama failed to clear their lines properly and when the ball fell to Mertens on the right side of the penalty area, the Napoli forward thumped a dipping volley that flew past Penedo.
De Bruyne almost swiftly doubled the lead but narrowly missed the target with a 25-yard free-kick that curled away from Penedo's right-hand post.
When wing-back Carrasco switched off at the back, allowing Edgar Barcenas' pass to drift over his head, Courtois had to be alert to smother an effort from Murillo.
That proved to be Panama's best chance of claiming a draw and Belgium doubled their lead in the 69th minute after VAR ruled Lukaku was marginally onside.
Hazard and De Bruyne combined brilliantly on the edge of the box, the latter's sublime floated cross to the back post providing Lukaku - who hit 11 goals in qualifying - a simple headed finish.
And when Panama lost possession in their own half, Belgium sprung a clinical counter-attack with Hazard's pass perfectly timed for Lukaku to run clear and lift a fine finish over the onrushing Penedo, showing Belgium will be a World Cup threat if they hit top gear.
Key Opta stats:
- Belgium are now unbeaten in their last 10 World Cup group games (W5 D5 L0), winning each of their last five.
- Each of the last 11 goals that Belgium have scored in World Cup matches have come after half-time.
- Belgium have won all 13 international matches that Dries Mertens has scored in.
- Romelu Lukaku has been directly involved in 13 of Belgium's last 19 goals (11 goals, two assists).
- Eden Hazard has been directly involved in 16 goals in his last 15 appearances for Belgium (eight goals, eight assists).
|Alisson to link up with Liverpool at Evian training camp|
|Woods´ return no fluke, insists Spieth|
|Johnson shrugs off shoulder injury to win second 2018 title|
|The Open 2018 diary: Kane an able golfer, hats off to Hossler|
|Tiger and Serena will talk through Open disappointment|
|Molinari: It wasn´t about being ruthless to beat Woods|
|Tiger ´ticked off´ at missed Open opportunity|
|The Open 2018: Molinari triumphs - how a dramatic final round unfolded|
|McIlroy: Great to be back in the mix|
|Open victory will take a long time to sink in, says Molinari|
|Stoke sign McClean from West Brom for £5m|
|Masterful Molinari clinches sublime Open win after Spieth, Woods fall away|
|Germany´s Ozil retires from international football|
|Vikings OL coach Tony Sparano dies|
|BREAKING NEWS: Magical Molinari wins The Open|
|Dalic claims to be world´s second best coach|
|Twelve-try Wakefield batter Hull to send Rhinos into Qualifiers|
|Sevastova cruises to Bucharest title|
|Cort Nielsen sprints to first Tour stage win, Thomas maintains lead|
|Sarri needs support to deliver Chelsea success - Zola|
|Pjanic and Rugani in Juventus tour squad as Ronaldo and World Cup stars are rested|
|Eagle has McIlroy soaring into a five-way tie for the lead at Carnoustie|
|Vettel will not lose any sleep after Hockenheim mistake|
|I manifested my dream – Hamilton revels in Hockenheim win|
|Pakistan seal crushing series sweep of Zimbabwe|
|Furious Ozil accuses German media of turning country against him|
|Woods makes his move as Spieth and Schauffele wobble|
|Vettel crash sees Hamilton retake championship lead|
|RFEF confirms one-legged Supercopa de Espana in Tangier|
|Fognini downs Gasquet to clinch Swedish Open|
|Spieth and Tiger underway as Kisner falls back|
|Iniesta, Torres suffer defeats in their J.League debuts|
|Cornet ends title drought in Gstaad|
|Martial ´very focused´ at Manchester United - Herrera|
|Root, Williamson and Bairstow - hat-trick hero Clark flourishes in Roses battle|
|Sri Lanka spinning towards crushing series whitewash|
|Ozil explains controversial Erdogan meeting|
|It´ll be hard for Tuchel to get our players – Kovac expects Boateng stay|
|Fakhar Zaman fastest to 1,000 ODI runs|
|Neymar happy for World Cup winner Mbappe|
|I was born ready! - Bellew accepts Usyk challenge|
|Tuchel seeks Rabiot answers as Barca rumours persist|
|In-form Storm go top, Rampant Roosters thrash Manly|
|Bancroft discharged from hospital after taking blow to throat|
|MLS Review: Martinez breaks record as Atlanta march on|
|Brewers top Dodgers to snap seven-game losing streak|
|Munguia wins after 12-round marathon with Smith|
|Hart ready to leave City to revive career|
|Puel shuts down Schmeichel transfer speculation|
|Four-way tie at Barbasol Championship as Lincicombe misses cut|
|Lenglet happy not to face Messi|
|Tuchel keen to get PSG stars back after friendly defeat|
|Pulisic signing would interest Klopp|
|Whatever b******t you say, no one forgets – Klopp defends spending comments|
|Usyk outclasses Gassiev to make cruiserweight history|
|Pella books Cecchinato meeting in Umag, Ramanathan´s Newport run continues|
|Kisner expects nothing but exchange of ´horror stories´ with housemate Spieth|
|Inter new boy Lautaro Martinez denies Zenit in six-goal thriller|
|McIlroy eyeing early gains to apply scoreboard pressure|
|The Open 2018 diary: Spieth´s close shave|
|Salah is fully recovered and full of joy – Klopp|
|De Laurentiis accuses Sarri of trying to sign whole Napoli team|
|Lewis Hamilton explains German GP woes|
|O´Driscoll hails ´Test match animal´ Warburton|
|Spieth relishing prospect of Tiger tussle at Carnoustie|
|Sanches pushing for Bayern second chance - Kovac|
|Put on the Sunday red and enjoy Tiger´s ride regardless of Carnoustie outcome|
|Flawless Spieth takes share of Open lead after Tiger winds back the years|
|PSG´s Tuchel to be patient with World Cup stars Neymar, Mbappe & Cavani|
|Sanchez joins United tour in LA after visa issues|