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World Cup

Belgium stand in the way of Brazil’s sixth World Cup ambitions

Belgium pose a major threat to Brazil’s World Cup ambitions

FIFA World Cup 2018

Brazil vs Belgium

Kazan Arena, Russia

Friday, 06-07-2018 @09:00pm

Brazil have their eyes fixed on a sixth world cup crown and know that they are just three wins away from achieving that as they are one of eight sides in the 2018 FIFA World cup quarter finals.

The side looks to have bounced back from their 2014 semi final humiliation at the hands of Germany but will clearly know that for those wounds to fully heal, they need to win what they regard as their own, the world cup trophy.

It is now 16 years ever since they last won it and looking at how the tournament has paved out, it would be write to claim that they are the out-right favorites.

There opposition on Friday comes in a Belgium side that is clearly playing their best football in years and boost of a crop of players that are viewed by many as being among the elite of this generation.

It is viewed by many as a final before the final and everyone around the world will surely not blink for the entirety of the game.

Brazil midfielder Casemiro is suspended and will be replaced by Fernandinho, head coach Tite has confirmed. Left-back Marcelo, who was not fully fit for their last game, has recovered from a back problem and will reclaim a starting spot from Filipe Luis. Winger Douglas Costa is also available, having overcome a muscle injury.

Belgium are hopeful that winger Adnan Januzaj will be fit, having been unavailable for their last match because of an unspecified injury. Head coach Roberto Martinez has reported no other fitness concerns.

What they are saying before the game:

Brazil head coach Tite:

“It will be a great match.

“Both teams excel with a beautiful football.

“Belgium have great players and a great coach as well.

“I’ve always put them in the group of favourites for this year’s World Cup.

Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez:

“We will need power.

“We have to defend as well as we can and then cause them pain when we have the ball.

This will be the fifth game between these sides. The first encounter was a friendly in Brussels in 1963 which Belgium won 5-1 but Brazil have won the subsequent three meetings.

Their only previous World Cup encounter was in the round of 16 in 2002. Brazil won 2-0 through second-half goals from Rivaldo and Ronaldo and went on to win the tournament.

Match Facts:

-Brazil have reached the quarter-finals for the seventh consecutive World Cup. They have only lost twice at this stage during this sequence – against France in 2006 and the Netherlands in 2010.

-The Selecao’s last six World Cup defeats have all come against sides from Europe.

-Their last win against European opposition in the knockout stage was the 2002 final versus Germany.

-They are unbeaten in their last 15 games in all comps (W11, D4), conceding just three goals.

-The Brazilians have won 20 of 25 games (D4, L1) under head coach Tite, keeping 19 clean sheets.

-They have recorded shut-outs in eight of their last nine games (W7, D2).

-Neymar has been involved in 20 goals in his last 19 matches for Brazil, scoring 11 and assisting nine.

-Belgium’s last two World Cup campaigns ended with elimination against South American opposition (versus Brazil in 2002 and Argentina in 2014).

-Victory would see them reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1986, and only the second time overall.

-They have already scored 12 goals – their joint most at a World Cup, along with 1986.

-Roberto Martinez’s side are unbeaten in their last 23 matches (W18, D5), the longest current run of any team left in the tournament.

-Belgium have failed to score a first-half goal in nine of their last 10 World Cup games.

-Victory would see Belgium win five successive World Cup matches for the first time. They have won eight of their last nine matches at the tournament.

-Belgium hold the record for most World Cup knockout games played (12) without keeping a clean sheet. They have conceded 28 goals in those 12 matches.

-Eden Hazard has been directly involved in 19 goals in his 18 games for Belgium under Roberto Martinez, scoring 10 and assisting nine.

-Romelu Lukaku has scored with four of his five shots on target at this tournament.

Also Read: France, Uruguay rub shoulders for the first time in a World Cup knock-out game for a place in the semis

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