Brazil take on Belgium in Kazan on Friday night, with the winner going on to face either Uruguay or France in the semi-final. Brazil scored twice in the second half to beat Mexico in the round of 16, while Belgium made a remarkable comeback to beat Japan, after going 2-0 down in the second half.
Neymar opened the scoring shortly after half time for Brazil against Mexico, making it 11 goals scored in his last 19 internationals, before Roberto Firmino doubled their lead in the 88th minute to send them through to the quarter finals and Mexico out for a seventh consecutive time in the round of 16. They’re still yet to play the flamboyant football that so many expect from a Brazil side, but they’ve shown defensive solidity and nous throughout the tournament so far.
As for Belgium, they played out a thrilling tie against Japan in the last round, going 2-0 down before Nacer Chadli scored on the counter attack with the final kick of the game to win it 3-2. Marouane Fellaini also came off the bench to score a goal, in what is seen as a tactical master stroke by Roberto Martinez. However, this game only reinforced what many believe about Martinez, that he’s incapable of organising a defence, the same problem that proved to be his undoing at Everton.
Brazil vs. Belgium Predictions
Belgium will be worried going into this one, especially after going two goals down against Japan in the last round. Brazil won’t allow them to get back into it if they go two goals up. However, the Belgians will take confidence out of the Japan game and believe that anything is possible. I’d expect Brazil to win this one though and make it through to the semi-finals.
Brazil vs. Belgium Betting Tips
- Brazil to win and both teams to score: 14/5
- Exact Score 3-1: 17/1
- Philippe Coutinho to score anytime: 37/20
Head to Head
- This will be the fifth meeting between these sides. Belgium won the first back in a 1963 friendly, while Brazil have won the following three meetings.
- The only previous occasion these sides met in a W. Cup was in the round of 16 in 2002, with Brazil winning 2-0 en route to winning the entire competition.
- Belgium have lost three of their last four W. Cup meetings against South American opposition.
- Brazil are playing the quarter final for the seventh successive W. Cup tournament. They’ve only gone out twice at this stage in that run (vs. France in 2006 and vs. Netherlands in 2010).
- Brazil have been knocked out of the W. Cup by a European side in each of the last three tournaments (vs. France in 2006, Netherlands in 2010 and Germany in 2014).
- Belgium have reached consecutive W. Cup quarter finals for the first time. They lost at this stage to Argentina in 2014.
- Belgium have scored 12 goals so far in the 2018 W. Cup. At no single tournament have scored more (also 12 in 1986).
- Brazil are unbeaten in their last 15 matches in all competitions (W11 D4), conceding just three goals in that run.
- Belgium are unbeaten in their last 23 matches (W18 D5), the longest current run of any team left in the 2018 W. Cup.
- Eden Hazard has been directly involved in 19 goals in his last 18 games for Belgium under Roberto Martinez, scoring 10 and assisting nine.
- Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku has scored with four of his five shots on target at the 2018 W. Cup.
- Brazil forward Neymar has been involved in 20 goals in his last 19 matches for Brazil, scoring 11 and assisting nine.
Brazil Team News
Alisson (Roma), Ederson (Manchester City), Cassio (Corinthians), Danilo (Manchester City), Fagner (Corinthians), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint Germain), Marquinhos (Paris Saint Germain), Miranda (Internazionale), Pedro Geromel (Gremio), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Paulinho (Barcelona), Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona), Willian (Chelsea), Douglas Costa (Juventus), Neymar (Paris Saint Germain), Taison (Shakhtar Donetsk), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
Belgium Team News
Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg), Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Thomas Meunier (Paris Saint-Germain), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur), Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Yifang), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham Hotspur), Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Monchengladbach), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Youri Tielemens (Monaco), Axel Witsel (Tianjin Quanjian), Michy Batshuayi (Borussia Dortmund), Nacer Chadli (WBA), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United)