By: Jason Green
Date: Friday July 6th
Match Odds: Brazil +110 / Belgium +260 / Draw +240
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
Both Brazil and Belgium come into this quarterfinals’ match unbeaten in the Tournament and five-time World Cup winner is the betting favorite. While Neymar, who has been criticized in Russia for his on-the-field-antics, is the star of the Brazil team the defense has been the shining star with three straight clean sheets.
Brazil has won three of Four matches all time against Belgium and they faced off in the 2002 World Cup with Brazil coming out on top 2-0.
While Brazil has been solid on defense Belgium has been solid on the attack. they have 12 goals in the Four matches and they came back from a 2nd half two-goal deficit to beat Japan in their last match. They had two 2nd half goals from reserves and their first was, pretty much, a gift from the Japanese, where the goalie made an error. Nacer Chadli scored the match-winner Four minutes into extra time.
The winner of this match will advance to the semifinals to face the winner of the France vs. Uruguay encounter.
In their last match Brazil beat Mexico 2-0 where Neymar found the back of the net and assisted on the 2nd goal. While the South American outfit got the shutout win they gave Mexico chances and they also lost time of possession 51% to 49%.
Belgium won the time of possession in their match facing Japan, but facing a strong midfield of Brazil possession should be close in this match. Kevin de Bruyne has played well in the midfield with his passing and ball control. His counterpart will be Manchester City teammate Fernandinho, who will be taking the place of the suspended Casemiro.
Neymar has gotten help in the Tournament, big time, from midfielder Philippe Coutinho, who had been a part of every goal in Russia prior to the Mexico match. While Neymar has his critics he also leads the Tournament when it comes to the most shots, most chances created, and the most fouls against.
Romelu LUkaku, who is in the Golden Boot race with Four goals, and Eden Hazard lead Belgium up front. Neither scored in the last match and while LUkaku missed some golden opportunities Hazard did get an assist on the equalizer. They will be going against Thiago Silva and a confident Brazil defense that has given up their share of shots, but have really not been threatened that much.
Both teams are on a run in international play, as Belgium is unbeaten in their last 23 matches and Brazil is unbeaten in their last 15 matches.
Belgium may have the slight edge in the midfield, but Brazil has the edge on defense. Belgium does have two clean sheets in their Four matches, but in the other two they gave up two goals apiece.
Last Three Matches
6/22/18 Brazil 2 Costa Rica 0
6/27/18 Serbia 0 Brazil 0
7/2/18 Brazil 2 Mexico 0
6/23/18 Belgium 5 Tunisia 2
6/28/18 England 0 Belgium 1
7/2/18 Belgium 3 Japan 2
Prediction: This has to be the marquee matchup of the quarterfinals with a World Cup filled with big upsets. However, there will not be one in this match and the marquee squad will come out on top. In a close match that will be tightly contested throughout Brazil will win by a score of 2-1 and advance to the semis.