No shortage of possession or territory could be blamed, but despite Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne's sniping, probing efforts to slip balls to Romelu Lukaku and the odd fiery strike from distance, Belgium looked like a team of great players short on an effective plan and low on urgency.
Sweden is back at the World Cup for the first time since 2006, and its most famous player, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, retired from worldwide competition after the European Championship.
Belgium struggled to create clear openings in the first period but within two minutes of the restart took the lead thanks to an early contender for the goal of the tournament. "We aren't going to say we are going to win or [are the] best team, but we have belief".
COACH: Roberto Martinez, the Red Devils became the first UEFA nation to qualify for Russian Federation 2018, and did so with an unbeaten record under Martinez.
He added: "We are dreaming as big as we can, but the important thing is to return to our country after the World Cup feeling proud of our job".
"It was our first World Cup game and we wanted it to be ideal", said the Spaniard, who was also keen to praise the opposition. "I feel very confident".
Peru vs. Denmark - Football Match Report
Peru were pacy in their counter attacks but lost their way around the box as one gilt-edged chance after another was wasted. This was only the first weekend of the World Cup , 2018 and teams have been playing like its now or never.
If Germany finish as Group F runners-up, they could face Brazil in a clash of World Cup titans in the next round. What were the other 0.4% watching? "Panama played with dignity".
The one lingering bit of news for Belgium is whether Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen will be healthy enough to play.
Martinez on Sunday said Hazard was ready to light up a tournament in the same way as Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo did with his stunning hat-trick against Spain.
Ciman was named on the standby list for Belgium in Russian Federation, yet on Saturday was relieved of his duties, with the defender reporting for Los Angeles FC ahead of their upcoming MLS meeting with the Columbus Crew.
Despite being first-time participants, Panama has one of the oldest squads in the tournament and many of its key players would have been better suited for making an impact four years ago when Los Canaleros barely missed qualifying. Goalkeeper Jamie Penedo is 36. Youth and speed may cause Panama problems.