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FIFA World Cup Heavyweights Brazil & Belgium Meet in Quarter-Finals Action

Neymar
All eyes will be on Neymar as the star striker attempts to advance Brazil to the Semi-Finals. Photo by Nazionale Calcio (Flickr) CC License
  • Brazil and Belgium meet in Quarter-Finals play at 2:00 p.m. EST on Friday, July 6th
  • Can Brazil’s defense contain the high-scoring Belgians?
  • Will Romelu Lukaku add to his goal tally in the race for the Golden Boot?

Brazil are starting to look more and more like FIFA World Cup favorites with every match they play. An early 20-minute attack by Mexico to start their Round of 16 match was weathered by the Brazilians until they slowly began to take over the game.

Though the teams entered halftime drawn 0-0, it didn’t take long for Brazil to find the back of the net after the restart. Willian crossed a ball through the box which Gabrielle Jesus and Neymar each slid in for and Neymar knocked it in at 51′.

Brazil kept the pressure on and had 20 attempts on goal and ten on target compared to 14 and one for Mexico.

Brazil kept the pressure on and had 20 attempts on goal and ten on target compared to 14 and one for Mexico. In fact, Mexico’s lone shot on target did not come until an hour into the match. Roberto Firmino would sub on in the 86′ minute and made an instant impact by tapping in a Neymar pass two minutes later to seal the game for Brazil.

By knocking the Mexicans out of the tournament, it became the seventh straight time Mexico have been eliminated in the Round of 16.

With nearly 20 minutes remaining in their Round of 16 match against Japan and down 0-2, Belgium looked like they would be the next heavily favored squad to fall victim to the upset. Belgium’s vaunted attack which seemed to score at will during the Group Stage was held to a draw at halftime against Japan.

When play restarted the Japanese jumped out to a quick two-goal lead with goals in the 48′ and 52′ minutes. The upset was looking probable until Jan Vertonghen’s header unintentionally landed in the back of the Japanese net. Queue the comeback.

Belgium Head Coach Roberto Martínez subbed on midfielder Marouane Fellaini in the 65′ minute and the midfielder made an immediate impact. Fellaini scored the game-tying goal nine minutes later with a headed goal of his own off a cross from Eden Hazard.

With time winding down and extra time looking likely, a Japanese corner kick was their own undoing. The corner was easily caught by Belgium keeper Thibaut Courtois and he made a heady play to quickly pass the ball upfield to Kevin De Bruyne with seconds remaining.

De Bruyne raced up field, passed to Thomas Meunier who in turn passed the ball into the box for an on-rushing Romelu Lukaku and Nacer Chadli. Lukaku let the ball roll through for Chadli who was also a second half substitute and buried the game-winning goal.

Whose stars will shine brightest?

Neymar and Philippe Coutinho have been Brazil’s top offensive threats each with two goals and one assist. Neymar has also taken the most shots (24) and had the most on target (12) of any player in the tournament. Coutinho is not far behind with 16/5.

Brazil’s defense has arguably been the bigger story having only allowed one goal all tournament, in addition to only allowing a total of five shots on target.

Brazil’s defense has arguably been the bigger story having only allowed one goal all tournament, in addition to only allowing a total of five shots on target. Brazil will be without the services of defensive midfielder Casemiro for yellow card accumulation.

In Belgium they’ll face a squad with plenty of talent of their own and the World Cup’s second-leading scorer in Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku has four of Belgium’s tournament-leading 12 goals. Captain Eden Hazard has also been involved in four of the team’s goals with two goals and two assists.

The Red Devils’ scoring prowess puts them in rare company. Of the three other teams since 1990 to score 12 goals in four games, all three either won the tournament, were runners-up or finished third. The only team to score more than 12 in four games was Brazil in 2002 with 13, who went on to win the tournament.

World Cup Stats

Brazil
VS
Belgium

3-1-0 Record 4-0-0
7 Goals Scored 12
1 Goal Allowed 4
6 Goal Differential 8
77 Total Shots 77
29 Total Shots On Target 30

Betting Advice

Pick: Both Teams To Score -130 via  Bovada

There is very little head-to-head history between these two nations with the lone meeting coming back in World Cup 2002. There, Brazil eliminated Belgium 2-0 in the Round of 16, on their way to winning the World Cup that year.

Brazil and Belgium are the top two teams in both total attempts on goal at 77 and also in attempts on target with 29 (Brazil) and 30 (Belgium).

Brazil and Belgium are the top two teams in both total attempts on goal at 77 and also in attempts on target with 29 (Brazil) and 30 (Belgium).

With all the firepower on the field between these two it’s tough to not back a stake on goals coming from both sides, especially when you consider their propensity for attacking soccer. Neither Brazil or Belgium have been held off the scoresheet in any of their matches so far. In 3/4 games for each, they have also scored multiple goals.

Brazil vs Belgium Odds Via  Bovada

Spread Moneyline Total To Qualify
BRA -1/2 (+110) +110 2.5 (EVEN) O -170
BEL +1/2 (-130) +270 2.5 (-120) U +140
DRAW +240

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Ryan has always enjoyed playing, watching, writing about, and betting sports. Though winning is always the end goal—he enjoys the whole process of doing the research, finding value, and putting together the pieces of the puzzle that make up placing a bet.