Belgium fancied to knock Brazil out of the World Cup

Grant SmithJul 06, 2018

Playing the anchor man role in front of the Brazil back-four, keeping Belgium talisman Eden Hazard quiet will be his primary task. Felipe Luiz, who got his chance with Marcelo out, has provided them a full-back who knows how to defend in tandem, a skill perfected at his club Atletico Madrid. "The players that they have. both teams deserve to be facing each other a little further on in this tournament and not in the quarterfinal".

"There won´t be many secrets to the game".

"It´s that simple, and this team is ready for that".

"But not one day do I go to bed thinking what if we lose", he said, though he also commented how the match would be as big for Brazil as it would for Belgium.

Martinez hailed the playmaker's ability to stay cool under pressure ahead of the quarter-final against Brazil in Kazan.

Although he failed to score in Belgium's final group game, it was Lukaku's inspired contribution during a late counter-attack that allowed Nacer Chadli to score a last-gasp victor against Japan that avoided the humiliation of an early exit to a team ranked 44th in the world.

Vercauteren said before the tournament that Russian Federation represented "perhaps one of the last chances for this generation of players to live up to expectations, because in 2022 a lot of them won´t be there". But on Monday Belgium had to mount a fightback to beat Japan, with Nacer Chadli scoring the victor in the 94th minute.

The core of that side remains in place in Russian Federation, where Belgium has won all four of its matches, including coming back from 2-0 down to beat Japan in the round of 16 with a thrilling counterattack in the final seconds of injury time.

Marcelo was forced off early on in Brazil's final group game as they beat Serbia to assure themselves of top spot in Group E, before the same back problem cost him a place in the team that beat Mexico 2-0.

Even more is expected from Neymar, whose pace, technique and all-round vision allied to Willian´s slick movement gave Brazil another dimension.

Willian answers questions during a Brazil press conference at Yug Sport Stadium, in Sochi.

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.

"We´re progressing, that´s evident", Silva said after their win over Mexico.

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

"I've told the lads nothing in life is easy, you have to fight for it", said Lukaku. 'I've seen many referee mistakes during the World Cup, lots of stuff happening that is not being commented on, but still all the focus is on Neymar'.

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