Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Top scorers meet best defence in Brazil v Belgium clash

Top scorers meet best defence in Brazil v Belgium clash Brazil favourites in ‘dream’ clash — Belgian coach
Cary Erickson | 05 July, 2018, 20:51

Belgium's forward Adnan Januzaj (C) celebrates scoring the opening goal with his teammates during the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup Group G football match between England and Belgium at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad on June 28, 2018.

"We can enjoy it from the first minute", Martinez said.

Belgium have a similar attacking outlook, but have been a lot more open. They have conceded just once so far in Russian Federation and have kept clean sheets in 19 of their 25 matches under head coach Tite.

From a Belgian perspective, tomorrow's World Cup quarter-final against Brazil in Kazan is a defining game for their talented generation of players but don't call them "golden", said defender Vincent Kompany yesterday. "Because the players are performing, that makes you feel at ease", said Tite.

Brazil were more convincing in their 2-0 win over Mexico in the previous round than Belgium were in overcoming an underrated Japan.

"I am friends with him at the club but he is on his side and I am on mine, and I hope I can get the better of him". If you have to do a "chapeau" [trick which involves flicking the ball over your head], do it. It's not like we've been failing up to now but there is a level above, which we need to achieve, which can be done by a game like the one we are playing against Brazil.

The core of that side remains in place in Russian Federation, where Belgium has won all four of its matches, including coming back from 2-0 down to beat Japan in the round of 16 with a thrilling counterattack in the final seconds of injury time.

"But for us, being able to travel around the world, everyone in our team believes one hundred percent we can beat Brazil".

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"Everything is open, up for grabs", he said.

The winners of the clash will face either France or Uruguay in St Petersburg on July 10.

Belgium, meanwhile, are the tournament's top scorers, banging in 12 goals in their four games so far. Lukaku has four but seven of his teammates have scored, too.

Willian looks set to keep his place in Brazil's starting XI after impressing in the last-16 win over Mexico, while Hazard is likely to start as Belgium captain. With Casemiro out, De Bruyne can be the man to exploit Brazil's core.

Kompany evaded a question on how he would deal with any Neymar's antics, but said: "Honestly, I don't care".

"I've spoken with both Marcelo and Filipe Luis".

For Belgium, defender Jan Vertonghen and De Bruyne are carrying yellow cards as well.