Belgium fancied to knock Brazil out of the World Cup

Kristopher Nichols
July 6, 2018

Although Luis put in a solid display against Mexico, Tite may be tempted to recall his preferred left back Marcelo, who missed the match with a back injury but returned to training.

Martinez feels his side, despite being stacked with individual talent, cannot be regarded as favourites due to their inexperience but he is convinced they can flourish. "It won't be easy, but we have the quality to make the difference". "But we have to maintain our same way of playing, getting better every game, and that is what we will take into this match". We need to enjoy our game, be ourselves. "We've been working together for a long time now, you can't forget that, and want to show everyone what we can do against Brazil". The signs are positive and of a real desire to be on the football pitch.

"We all feel it, but I tell the players, "don't listen and don't watch". Over the last two years we have been working towards this moment". None of us are going to sleep at night thinking "We have already lost to Brazil".

Martinez stressed the threat posed by Brazil star Neymar after he hit Brazil's opener against Mexico and, after an impressive second-half performanace marred by play-acting, set up Roberto Firmino for Brazil's second at the death.

This will be the fifth meeting between these sides.

However Brazil defender Miranda thinks that his Belgian counterpart Vincent Kompany's comments about the showdown are to hide fear.

Those expectations have since been tempered after Belgium sneaked into the last eight following a last-gasp 3-2 win over Japan.

Come Friday, Willian has nonetheless made it clear that their friendship will take on minimal significance as the 29-year-old eyes another eye-catching performance to propel Brazil to the semi-finals in Russian Federation.

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Hours before the showdown with England his brother, Sachi, had warned that the tragedy could happen again if Colombia failed to get through to the quarter-finals.

The Red Devils will take on the Selecao in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Russian Federation on Friday night, after beating Japan 3-2 in the last 16 on Monday.

But it is unlikely that Firmino will get a chance when Tite's Brazil meet Belgium for the first time under its current manager.

Only Germany and Argentina, with four wins each, have won more World Cup shootouts than Brazil.

Brazil won the 1994 World Cup final by defeating Italy in a shootout following a goalless draw, eliminated the Netherlands on penalties to make it to the 1998 final and advanced to the quarterfinals four years ago by ousting Chile the same way.

The second quarter-final of FIFA World Cup 2018 will pit two of the pre-tournament favourites that are coming into the tie with contrasting runs of form.

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

Belgium and Brazil have only met each four times previously, with Brazil winning three of those games, including their most recent encounter at the 2002 World Cup.

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