Russia 2018 World Cup preview: Brazil vs Belgium


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)

06.07.2018         19:00

Image result for russia 2018 world cup brazil vs belgium

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.
Image result for russia 2018 world cup brazil vs belgium

Players to watch: Neymar (BRA) has been involved in 20 goals (11 goals, nine assists) in 19 matches. Eden Hazard (BEL) has been directly involved in 19 goals (ten goals, nine assists) in 18 games.

Stat attack: Brazil have kept a clean sheet in eight of their last nine matches.

Team news

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.

Opta facts

  • This will be the fifth meeting between these sides. Belgium won the first back in a 1963 friendly, while Brazil have won the following three meetings.
  • The only previous occasion these sides met in a World Cup was in the round of 16 in 2002, with Brazil winning 2-0 en route to winning the entire competition.
  • Belgium have lost three of their last four World Cup meetings against South American opposition.
  • Brazil are playing the quarter-final for the seventh successive World Cup tournament. They’ve only gone out twice at this stage in that run (vs France in 2006 and vs the Netherlands in 2010).
  • Brazil have been knocked out of the World Cup by a European side in each of the last three tournaments (vs France in 2006, Netherlands in 2010 and Germany in 2014).Image result for russia 2018 world cup brazil vs belgium
  • Belgium have reached consecutive World Cup quarter-finals for the first time – they lost at this stage to Argentina in 2014.
  • Belgium have scored 12 goals so far in the 2018 World Cup – at no single tournament in the competition have they scored more (also 12 in 1986).
  • Brazil are unbeaten in their last 15 matches in all competitions (W11 D4), conceding just three goals in that run.
  • Belgium are unbeaten in their last 23 matches (W18 D5), the longest current run of any team left in the 2018 World Cup.
  • Eden Hazard has been directly involved in 19 goals in his 18 games for Belgium under Roberto Martinez, scoring 10 and assisting nine.
  • Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku has scored with four of his five shots on target so far at the 2018 World Cup.
  • Brazil forward Neymar has been involved in 20 goals in his last 19 matches for Brazil, scoring 11 and assisting nine.
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.
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