Brazil vs Belgium
Brazil didn't look like the biggest possible favorite in their 1/8 finals game against Mexico. However, in the end it looked like they did progress overall quite safely and without much dangerous situations in front of their own goal.
Mexico tried to dominate and actually looked more than decent and bit better maybe in the first thirty minutes. Still, as the time progressed the Brazilians were better and better and as many great teams do - opened the second halftime with much higher tempo.
They tried to score a goal from the first minute of the repetition and managed to do so via Neymar in 51st minute. Mexico had more of the ball possession trying to reply back but it was only invitation for the Brazilians to hurt them via counter attacks which finally happened in 88th minute.
Neymar, Firmino and Willian should lead their attack. Formation should be similar to 4-3-3 formation. Defensive midfielder Casemiro is suspended due accumulated bookings. Fernandinho should deputise for him. Left back Marcelo wasn't risked against Mexico and is expected to play here. Offensive Douglas Costa is back in full training and will probably start from the bench in this one.
Belgium was really close to getting out of the World Cup competition almost out of nowhere. The Europeans were huge favorites to progress against Japan in previous round after getting all three victories in the group stage and latest win over England that secured them the first position.
However, Japanese proved to be very difficult nut to crack - but not only that. After defending mostly and threatening only via counter attacks in first they were even more decisive to attack in second.
They have opened the scoreline in 48th minute via Haraguchi and doubled up the lead only four minutes later with a goal from Inui. Beglium didn't find a way to respond right away and it looked like desperate situation for them at moments. Still, bit with Japanese "help", bit due their real quality they reverted the scoreline thanks to goals from Certhongen, Fellaini and Chadli in fourth minute of additional time.
Lukaku will be alone at the top of Belgium attack. Mertens and Hazard will be acting as offensive midfielders. Formation should continue to be 3-4-2-1. Nacer Chadli and Marouane Fellaini are both pushing for start here after their good performance in second halftime against Japan. Vincent Kompany should start here in a three man defense.
- Brazil have scored at least 2 goals in 16 of their last 19 matches (FIFA World Cup).
- Belgium have scored at least 3 goals in 5 of their last 6 matches (FIFA World Cup).
Brazil have shown great defensive stability so far in the group stage and in a match against Mexico, but no doubt that their defense will be tested against Belgium like never before. I see an open game from both ends, since we have so much attacking potential here, I can't see the game staying a goalless one for much of the time. As soon as one goal gets scored, it shouldn't pass much till we see few more.
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Brazil vs Belgium prediction
Over 2.5 goals @ 2.04 with Pinnacle