Brazil vs Belgium | 06 Jul 2018

Ross Houston
July 6, 2018

Neymar has scored two goals in Brazil's four matches, but he has been slammed by soccer pundits across the world for diving and rolling on the ground theatrically in Russian Federation.

As they head into Friday's quarter-final against Belgium in Kazan they do so with the joint-best defensive record at this year's World Cup alongside Uruguay, having allowed only one goal against Switzerland in their opening Group E fixture.

Although Brazil are favourites to win the World Cup, Belgium are formidable opponents and there are reasons to believe they could spring a surprise in Kazan.

"You have to find solutions, you have to find reaction but what you have to find more than anything is the desire and togetherness of a group of players, that they are desperate to perform", Martinez said.

"If we play well against Brazil, we can attract even more supporters". If we show the same mentality as we did on Monday, we have a big chance.

Against Brazil, however, Belgium's formidable attack featuring captain Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku may be hard pressed to break down a stingy defence which has conceded one goal in their four matches at the tournament, and a total of six from their past 25.

"I don't think it's the most important game [in my career], because if we win, then the game after that will be more important, won't it?"

Overall, Brazil look far more compact and organised without the ball under Tite than they did in that unforgettable tournament four years ago under Luiz Felipe Scolari. Roberto Martinez will know they have to have a go at Brazil so I can see a high-scoring affair.

If Neymar plays well, Brazil play well - it is as simple as that.

Although he failed to score in Belgium's final group game, it was Lukaku's inspired contribution during a late counter-attack that allowed Nacer Chadli to score a last-gasp victor against Japan that avoided the humiliation of an early exit to a team ranked 44th in the world. Fernandinho's main task will be subduing City team-mate Kevin De Bruyne. Casemiro has provided a strong shield in front of the Brazilian defence. They have only gone out at this stage twice in that run (against France in 2006 and Netherlands in 2010).

The main questions following disappointing defeats in the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 European Championship centred on the team's character.

But their marauding finish, banging in three consecutive goals late in the tie to erase a 2-0 deficit, was a sobering reminder of the firepower at Roberto Martinez's disposal.

What time does the FIFA World Cup 2018 Brazil vs Belgium Quarter-Final match begin? 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.

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