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Courtois thriving under pressure

13 June 2014 19:44

Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is relishing the pressure of playing in his first FIFA World Cup.

The 22-year-old, who has spent the last three seasons on loan at Spanish champions Atletico Madrid from Chelsea, will be under the spotlight as his nation prepare for their first finals since 2002.

Drawn in Group H alongside South Korea, Russia and Algeria, Belgium are strongly fancied to progress to the second round in Brazil.

But rather than cowing under the weight of expectation, Courtois is thriving on the challenge ahead.

"Of course everyone expects much from me and that creates pressure," he said.

"This pressure makes me better though.

"After the last match with Atletico (the UEFA Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid) I looked forward to this World Cup.

"I spoke with (Atletico team-mate and Uruguay defender) Diego Godin and he told me that the intensity of a Champions League final is best compared with a match at the World Cup."

Courtois is expected to take Belgium's number one jersey ahead of Liverpool's Simon Mignolet, but says such stiff competition for places can only be good for the squad.

"In training we push each other's level," he added.

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