Brazil vs Belgium
Competition: 2018 World Cup finals
Date: 6 July 2018
Kick-off: 20:00 CET
Tite’s only problem seems to be the absence of Casemiro, who, against Mexico, received his second yellow card in the tournament, and is unavailable. Paulinho missed Wednesday’s training session, but the medical staff were quick to assure everyone that the Barcelona player will be available. Same with Douglas Costa, who left his recent injury behind him, trained properly these last days, and can play. Marcelo is expected to start instead of Filipe Luis. The Real Madrid man was not 100% ready to play against Mexico, and Tite preferred to start with Filipe Luis. As for Danilo, he was available even against Mexico, but Fagner, the guy who was called to fill in the gap after Danilo’s injury in the first game of the group stage, has done a very good job, and Tite explained that he can’t take out a player who has been very consistent in three big games. Brazil looked rather… surprised in the first half versus Mexico, but scored twice in the second one, qualifying fairly, as they were the better team on the pitch.
“Play our game, avoid… crazy things”. This is what Belgium captain Vincent Kompany told reporters, when asked how should his team approach this match. The Belgians look determined to… stick to their game, which has served them very well thus far, but at the same time, be more focused on defense, avoiding taking unnecessary risks. Brazil have the players to… punish you if you leave them with enough space, which, interestingly, is a Belgium merit as well. Their last goal, the winner against Japan in the round of 16, in the last minute of added time, on a counterattack after a Japan corner, showed everyone how “lethal” Belgium can be when finding open space. Roberto Martínez is happy to have all his players at his disposal.
Previous five matches:
Brazil vs Mexico 2-0
Serbia vs Brazil 0-2
Brazil vs Costa Rica 2-0
Brazil vs Switzerland 1-1
Austria vs Brazil 0-3
Belgium vs Japan 3-2
England vs Belgium 0-1
Belgium vs Tunisia 5-2
Belgium vs Panama 3-0
Belgium vs Costa Rica 4-1
The winner of this game will play against the winner of Uruguay vs France in the first semifinal.
Brazil vs Belgium: Head to head Stats
Brazil and Belgium have met four times in the past. Three were friendly games, and one was in World Cup finals, in 2002. Brazil won that match, 2-0. They have won two of the three friendlies as well, including the most recent one, in 1988 (2-1). Belgium have one win over the Brazilians, 5-1(!), but back in 1963.
Brazil vs Belgium: Prediction
Regardless of how the game goes, 90 minutes, extra-time, penalties (maybe), I expect Brazil to qualify.
Brazil vs Belgium: Betting Tips
Brazil’s qualification pays 1.57. Given that their double chance is at just 1.29 and I don’t trust them enough to finish the thing off in 90 minutes, I would go for “over 2.5 goals”, at 2.00, suiting my 2-1 or 2-2 hunch. “Over 2.5 goals and both teams to score” is at 2.25.