Russia: This fixture stands out amongst the rest as two teams, both dubbed as ‘’World Cup Favourites’’ face off against each other. The most exciting match of the quarters kicks off at 11:00 pm at the Kazan Stadium, Russia on July 6.
The Brazilian’s beat a determined Mexico team 2-0 to advance to the quarterfinals of the World Cup. Neymar and company will be hoping to replicate this result against a fearsome Belgium squad who have not lost or drawn a single match so far. Brazil are the nation to have won five world cups, higher than any other team. This time again, they have an excellent squad which could bring home the sixth trophy. A win against Belgium will take them one step closer to another World Cup triumph.
The Belgian red devils field a very impressive lineup, one that even compares to Brazil in talent and quality. Romelu Lukaku leads their front line with Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens, the trio have been instrumental in all of Belgium’s wins so far. Belgium has great squad depth just like Brazil and perhaps the only thing to separate the two is their play style. Belgium have never won the World Cup, but should they overcome their opponents in the last eight, a World Cup triumph looks very possible for them.
The Brazilians will be without their defensive midfielder Casemiro as he picked up a yellow card in their last matche which forces him to miss this quarterfinal fixture. Fernandinho will likely replace Casemiro on the team sheet and super-sub Firmino might just take Gabriel Jesus’s spot on the first team after another great performance after coming on from the bench.
The Belgians do not have any fresh injuries and will most likely field the same lineup, with maybe a single player being switched out for the sake of squad rotation.
Brazil Expected XI: Alisson, Fagner, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Filipe Luis, Paulinho, Fernandinho, Coutinho, Neymar, Willian, Firmino
Belgium Expected XI: Courtois, Kompany, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Meunier, De Bruyne, Witsel, Carrasco, Lukaku, Hazard, Mertens
Key Battle: Lukaku vs Thiago Silva
Belgium and Brazil have both proved time and time again that their offense and defence consists of the world’s best. Romelu Lukaku, a fast paced giant who’s already found the net four times in this tournament, against a man who is called as the best defender in the world by some, Belgium’s attack will need to do something about Brazil’s Thiago Silva before they can even think about putting any past Allison, the Brazilian goalkeeper.
Neymar’s World Cup?
Neymar Jr is slowly bridging the gap between him and the two best players in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi. Winning this world cup will surely help him on his path to becoming a footballing great like his Brazilian predecessors, Ronaldo Nazario, Ronaldinho, and Pele. Brazil will need Neymar to prove his worth against a fearsome Belgium side. If Neymar’s side are seen lacking in any area, the Belgian red devils will surely take advantage of that weakness.
Predictions: Brazil 3-2 Belgium
There are no favourites and no underdogs in this match, the match can be decided by something as small as an accidental deflection of the ball. Two very even teams clash against each other, however, Neymar may prove to be the player that makes the difference and wins it for Brazil.