Brazil vs Belgium: Each team bringing more stars than an Oscar night

Thiabaut Courtois

Thiabaut Courtois

Brazil centre-back pairing Joao Miranda and Thiago Silva have been solid and will aim to keep it that way as the five-time champions target a place in the semi-finals and a match with either France or Uruguay.

Brazil were more convincing in their 2-0 win over Mexico in the previous round than Belgium were in overcoming an underrated Japan. It has truly been one of the stand-out features of this World Cup so far, and Hazard et al are going to have to be at their dazzling best to get the better of a side who look to be peaking just as they need to in their quest for a sixth world title. The Red Devils have helped themselves to 12 goals through four matches, recently coming back from 2-0 down to see off Japan 3-2 in the last 16. You have to prepare yourself, especially against the Brazil national team.

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

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

Belgium, who came from behind to beat Japan in a thrilling last-16 match, have fast become the favourite team of many fans of countries already eliminated for their attractive style of flowing football, a role their old rivals the Netherlands often occupied. It has fueled confidence inside the Belgium camp that it can deal with adversity and make the World Cup semifinals for the first time since 1986. "But now it is time for each of us to defend our corner and I hope to come out on top", Willian said.

Despite Belgium's lack of tournament success, Martinez said his players "cannot wait" to face Brazil in Kazan. The players that they have - both teams deserve to be facing each other a little further in, in this tournament and not in the quarter-final.

Brazil geared up for their clash against Belgium with a weights session as Tite's squad put the finishing touches to their preparations ahead of Friday's quarter-final.

'Perhaps we should be talking about the officials?,' he added.

"Everything is open, up for grabs", he said.

The victor of the tie will face either France or Uruguay in St Petersburg on July 10.

Brazil has been a two-man show so far in the ongoing football showdown in Russian Federation. If the Belgian trio of Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen manage to contain the threat of Coutinho and Neymar in the upcoming match, Brazil might end up toothless in attack.

The Brazil boss has a host of injuries and suspensions to deal with: Casemiro is suspended, while Douglas Costa, Marcelo and Danilo are all doubts to be fit. When it comes to the tangibles though, Neymar seems to be in a league of his own, having created more chances, taken more shots and attempted more dribbles than anyone else at FIFA World Cup 2018.

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