We’re down to the last eight, with the second fixture pitting the five-time winners against the 2014 quarter-finalists.
Brazil came through with a comprehensive 2-0 win over Mexico, whilst Belgium were given a major fright against Japan, but avoided a shock result by coming back to win 3-2.
Belgium don’t have great history against South American opposition, having lost to Argentina at the quarter-final stage four years ago, and losing to Brazil at the round of 16 in 2002. Hopefully for them, this be their time to gain revenge.
Conversely, Brazils recent record against European opponents (at this round) is also not great, having been beaten by France in 2006, and Netherlands in 2010.
Casemiro is excluded for this game, having received a booking v Mexico (also having been booked v Switzerland). The likes of Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, and Filipe Luis must tread carefully, or they’ll miss a potential semi-final.
No suspensions for Belgium however (that rings music to the ears of Roberto Martinez), but Thomas Meunier, Kevin De Bruyne Jan Vertonghen, Youri Tielemans, and Leander Dendoncker must all be careful not to picking up needless bookings in order to be available for a possible last-four match.
On the injury front, both Marcelo, and Douglas Costa have taken part in training, and have been working to regain full fitness having had a back issue, and a hamstring strain respectively.
As for Belgium, there are no injuries to report on, so Martinez has a fully-fit squad to choose from.
Brazil are the HUGE favourites here, but to tag Belgium as the “underdogs” would be a grave mistake!
Belgium just squeezed past Japan last time, but if they go behind like that again, I don’t see them coming out of this one!
An eye must be kept on Neymar in terms of his “dark arts”, why is why Belgium must be extra
careful if they’re to avoid bookings!
I’d go for a Belgium win in extra-time as I feel they have that “extra” about them, and that was displayed against Japan.
Can either side take one step closer to glory?