The top scorers meet the joint-best defence at the tournament.
After the engrossing matches in the Round of 16, the World Cup enters into the more captivating quarterfinals. The high-flying Europeans who are strong favourites to win the coveted title are up against mighty Brazil.
Belgium have given a pretty strong account of themselves in previous matches and will be formidable opposition for the Selecao. Tite and his men had a pretty dominating match against Mexico, whereas Belgium played out a 5-goal thriller with Japan, in a match which will be cherished for years to come.
About the teams
This will be one of the biggest clashes of this World Cup, as both teams have a lot of firepower in their ranks to overcome each other. The Selecao will be missing their Real Madrid man Casemiro, who is suspended after picking up two yellow cards across the previous games. But, Tite will most likely trust the experienced Fernandinho to do the job for him.
Roberto Firmino with another inspiring substitute appearance is putting pressure on Gabriel Jesus and as the Manchester City youngster may lose his starting spot to a better performing Firmino against the Red Devils.
Both, Neymar and Willian have finally found their feet in Russia and now along with Philippe Coutinho, the Selecao look pquite threatening for any opposition. The defensive duo of Joao Miranda and Thiago Silva have put in stellar performances throughout the tournament and even when Marcelo was down with injury, Atleti man Felipe Luis stepped up when needed the most. Even the unheralded Corinthians defender Fagner has put up great defensive shift for the team.
Roberto Martinez doesn’t have any injury concerns or suspensions to contend with, but he has some concerns over their backline as it seems the only area for improvement for the Red Devils. The Europeans looked quite vulnerable against the highly-energetic Japanese counter-attacks. The Red Devils will know well that they cannot leave so much space in their backline against Brazil, as Neymar and Co. will look to pounce on anything.
The clash between the Latinos and the Europeans will be held at the Kazan Arena, situated in the city of Kazan and home stadium of Russian side Rubin Kazan. The stadium has a mamoth 45,000 capacity and is located on the banks of the Kazanka. The facility also hosted the thrilling knockout match between France and Argentina and hopefully will witness another thriller on Friday.
Potential Starting line-ups
Brazil: Alisson; Fagner, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Filipe Luis; Fernandinho, Paulinho, Coutinho; Willian, Jesus, Neymar
What to Expect
Its a pretty evenly balanced match and things will be decided on the field, as on paper it is very difficult to pick a winner. The Brazilians are getting into their groove at the right time, whereas Belgium also boast a very fluid frontline. The Red Devils have a star-studded lineup and with the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Yannick Carrasco and Axel Witsel, their midfield also looks pretty solid and creative at the same time.
Their defence is the area of concern for them, but the trio of Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweirald and Jan Vertonghen will look to put up a solid performance against Brazil. The Selecao had a great outing against the Mexicans and will look to continue that form in their quarterfinal against Belgium.
Khel Now Predicts
Brazil 2-1 Belgium