The Belgians are one of the top contenders to lift the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Red Devils have won each and every match in the tournament so far. They have comfortably beaten Panama 3-0, ran riot against Tunisia in their 5-2 victory over them, and scraped a 1-0 victory against England in their last group game.
Being dominant in the group stage, Belgium got their first scare against Japan in the Round of 16 when they were trailing 0-2. Their player’s determination and Roberto Martinez’s tactical substitutions helped Belgium overcome Japan 3-2. There are no fault lines in the Belgian team, and hence this makes them a formidable team to beat.
The Samba Boys, on the other hand, had a relatively tough group stage having narrowly drawn 1-1 with Switzerland, scrapped a 2-0 victory out of nowhere against the stubborn Costa Rican defence and sealed their spot in the Round of 16 with a 2-0 victory over Serbia.
They found their form against Mexico and completely dominated them in the second-half due to the brilliance of Willian and Neymar in the Round of 16.
The Selecao being the 5 times World Cup champions will be the favourites in their quarter-final match against Brazil.
Belgium will have to be patient, keep creating chances and wait for the right opportunity to pounce and put pressure on Brazil.
With the talented players they have got in their side, Belgium has the perfect chance to beat Brazil in the quarter-finals at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Let us look 3 reasons why Belgium can eliminate Brazil in the quarter-finals.
#1 Unstoppable Eden Hazard
Eden Hazard has been in phenomenal form at the World Cup so far and is one of the top contenders for the Golden Ball award. Having scored 2 goals and provided 2 assists in 4 games, Hazard will look to run a riot at the Brazilian defence and dominate the proceedings in favour of Belgium in Friday’s Quarter-final encounter.
The inexperienced Brazilian right-back Fagner will have the tremendous task of keeping the world-class dribbler and speedster Eden Hazard at bay.
It is highly unlikely that Fagner will succeed in this tough task alone and hence will require the services of Willian to come to his aid on Friday.
Being the X-factor for Belgium at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Hazard will have to bring his A-game on Friday in order to provide a decent chance for Belgium to beat the formidable heavyweights Brazil.
#2 Plan B
Belgium will stick to plan A at the start of the match and hope that it will succeed for them as it has done in many games at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The plan A consists of keeping possession of the ball, regaining it quickly when it is lost and decisively open the Brazilian defence with the scintillating pace and dribbling ability of its two wingers.
If this doesn’t work and Belgium falls behind on Friday, then they will have to revert to plan B which they successfully used in their dramatic 3-2 comeback against Belgium in the Round of 16.
Their plan B is to bring on Fellaini and continuously play long balls towards him or deliver to him a perfect cross in the box for him to score.
Fellaini due to his height and physical strength will win headers comfortably and hence will free the other Belgian attackers like Hazard, Lukaku, and Mertens to run behind the Brazilian defence. Having scored a wonderful header against Japan, Fellaini will be eager to score again for Belgium against Brazil.
The Brazilians should devise a strategy against Belgium’s plan B and their defence should be extremely careful against Fellaini.
#3 Formidable defence of Belgium
Belgium have been good at defending in the World Cup so far. Their back three have been solid, calm and composed.
The experience of Vertonghen, Alderweireld, and Kompany have made Belgium into an impressive defensive unit. They had hiccups when they conceded 2 goals against Japan which ultimately led to a splendid comeback by Belgium side.
The Brazilian attacking trio consisting of Neymar, Jesus and Willian will find it extremely difficult to penetrate the strong Belgian defence despite leading their side to a 2-0 victory over Mexico. Hence, the Brazilian attackers will also have to press the Belgian defence as they are capable of playing the Libero system.
It will be an interesting battle to watch out for between the defensive and attacking trio in the quarter-final clash.