Two of the pre-tournament favourites collide in Nizhny Novgorod on Friday evening at 7pm, as Brazil and Belgium clash in their World Cup quarter-final.
|Venue: Kazan Arena (Kazan)|
|Five-time Champions Brazil will look to make their first World Cup (WC) final in 16 years when they take on red-hot Belgium in Kazan.|
|Brazil reached the WC quarter-finals for a seventh consecutive time after defeating Mexico 2-0 in their last-16 encounter. Goals by Neymar and Roberto Firmino were enough to break the Mexican resistance.|
|The Selecao have eight clean sheets in nine matches and will look to overcome the heartbreaking loss to Germany (7-1) from the last WC. Tite’s side has now remained unbeaten in 15 games (W11, D3) with just one goal conceded in four games in Russia.|
|Belgium will be a different proposition though, as they are on a 23-game unbeaten streak (W18, D5). They became the first team to fight back from two goals down to win a WC knockout game for 48 years when they defeated Japan 3-2.|
|They have already notched up 12 goals in the tournament and have lost only once in their last nine WC games (W8, L1). Their last six games have seen 19 goals and it will be their attacking talent that will look to trump Brazil.|
|Stat attack: Brazil have kept a clean sheet in eight of their last nine matches.|
Along with the return of Marcelo, Fernandinho will also come into the Brazil side.
The Manchester City midfielder has yet to start a game in Russia but will replace Casemiro – who misses out through suspension – and is likely to be joined in the starting XI by club-mate Gabriel Jesus, despite the fact the forward has yet to score in the finals.
Defender Miranda joined Tite at the press conference at the Kazan Arena and the Inter Milan man will captain the side.
Belgium were thankful to goals from substitutes Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli in their comeback win over Japan but Martinez is likely to keep the same team that started the game.
|Brazil remain unbeaten in ten games against European opponents (W8, D2), conceding just three goals.|
|Belgium have never kept a clean sheet in 12 WC knockout matches, conceding 28 goals.|
|There have been over 2.5 goals in five of Belgium’s last six matches.|
|Belgium have made successive WC quarter-finals appearances for the first time.|
|Brazil have won the last three matches against Belgium, the last time in 2002 WC.|