The quarter-finals of the World Cup are upon us and the standout tie for most neutrals is Brazil against Belgium because of the quality attacking players that are on show. The South Americans will start as favourites but Roberto Martinez’s men showed exactly what they are about last time out, coming from 2-0 down against Japan with just 20 minutes remaining, which set up this mouthwatering fixture.
Brazil have probably been the best side at Russia and whilst they’ve shown a few signs of weakness, on the whole they look the most complete team. Defensively, they’ve conceded just one goal and look one of the toughest sides to break down and with the likes of Phillipe Coutinho, Willian and Neymar going forward, chances are always created. The tournament favourites have a good balance and will expect to come through this tough test.
Yet, Belgium will be confident themselves as the manner of their victory against Japan last time out means they couldn’t approach this game in higher spirits. They completed a remarkable comeback in injury time thanks to a stunning counter-attack that highlighted just how good they are going forward. But, the fact they went 2-0 down to Japan in the first place proves they have some major issues that Brazil will look to exploit.
Here we will give you Brazil vs Belgium betting tips, look at where the game will be won, the key players and a Brazil vs Belgium prediction for the last eight clash.
Our Brazil vs Belgium Prediction: Brazil 3-1 Belgium
Our Brazil vs Belgium prediction tips is for Tite’s men to emerge victorious from what will be an entertaining and high quality encounter between two very good sides.
Brazil have matchwinners all across the final third and that, combined with their strong defensive unit, means they are a very dangerous opponent and justifiably favourites. And, they will be hopeful of getting at a Belgium side that are extremely attack-minded in the 3-4-3 formation that Martinez adopts. That leaves a lot of space down the flanks and in attacking midfield positions, which Coutinho and Neymar will look to take advantage of.
Ultimately, that attacking intent could be Belgium’s undoing. They conceded twice against Tunisia in the group stage and in the last 16 which is alarming. However, Martinez won’t change the way he plays and they will look to dominate the ball and create chances as they normally do. The issues will arise in how they are picked off on the break, whereas creating goalscoring opportunities won’t be easy to come by against such a solid defence.
Despite those potential defensive problems, they still have the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard providing for Romelu Lukaku, and such firepower gives them a chance against anyone.
Our recommended tip – Over 2.5 goals
Even though we think that Brazil will win this game, the safer bet for punters may be to go for over 2.5 goals.
Quite simply, there is far too match attacking talent on the pitch for this game to be anything but entertaining and Belgium’s approach in particular should lead to goals. They’ve shown how vulnerable they are at times but it must also be said that they have been outstanding going forward. With the players we’ve mentioned that’s to be expected and they get a lot of numbers into the box. They will look to get on the ball, run at Brazil and they have real variety in their attacks.
Nevertheless, they are going to be open with their defence and lack of natural defensive midfielders. Coutinho, Neymar and Willian will surely get opportunities to run at the back three and that will lead to chances for whoever is up front out of Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino. It should be a classic and we can see three goals or more in this fixture.
The clash in Kazan will be the fifth meeting between the sides and unsurprisingly Brazil have had the better of the previous encounters, winning three of the four games. They also tasted victory in the only other World Cup meeting between the sides, which was back in ’02.
With their performances so far in Russia, Brazil have been impressive. They still don’t look unbeatable and tend to give the opposition a 15-20 minute spell in each game and Belgium will hope to capitalise if they get such opportunities. However, that’s a minor issue in the bigger picture as the Samba Boys have impressed on the whole, beating Serbia and Mexico in their last two games in convincing fashion. Miranda and Thiago Silva are solid at the back, Coutinho has been superb and Neymar is getting better as the tournament progresses which is worrying for Belgium.
Meanwhile, Belgium have been a great watch for the neutral. They always look to attack and easily beat Panama and Tunisia before edging past England. Next, the Japan game was a superb match but highlighted their issues. Yet, the character and quality they showed to overturn a two-goal deficit in the final 20 minutes was outstanding. However, issues have come up from recent performances. De Bruyne doesn’t look entirely happy playing in a deep midfield role whilst Yannick Carrasco is not great defensively as a left wing-back and Martinez might consider a reshuffle.
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Players to watch – Eden Hazard & Neymar
Martinez has build the side around the Chelsea man, who is captain of Belgium too. And, now he needs to step up and deliver when his country will need him most. Hazard has the talent to unlock any defence and will trouble Brazil with his dribbling ability and eye for a pass, if he is on form. He has shown flashes of his brilliance so far in the World Cup but if Belgium and this ‘Golden Generation’ are to progress any further then they will need one of their outstanding talents to be at his best for the full 90 minutes.
Similarly, a lot of responsibility for Brazil has been on Neymar’s shoulders and he hasn’t really delivered yet either. The PSG man is making the headlines for his theatrics and again has only shown flashes of his undoubted quality. However, he picked up against Mexico last time out, scoring one and making the other, and if he is at his best he’s arguably the third best player in the world and could take this game away from Belgium.