Belgium and Brazil will clash in one of the most heavily anticipated quarter-finals in recent memory. The Brazilians come into the match after a comprehensive 2-0 victory over Mexico, who have now exited the World Cup at the Round of 16 on seven consecutive occasions, while Belgian fans will be pinching themselves that they have even made it.
Belgium were 2-0 down in their clash against Japan, and despite dominating the match they looked as though they were heading towards an early and unforeseen exit. Then all of a sudden it was 2-2, and Kevin de Bruyne was streaking from one end of the park to the other, setting up a huge third goal that catapulted the side into the quarters.
Their team of superstars will take on a champion team in Brazil, who have bean almost unbeatable in the last three years. Although missing mercurial fullback Marcelo, the Brazilians have one of the best squads in the tournament, and will fancy themselves now that the Germans have exited prematurely.
Belgium have won just once in four meetings with the Brazilians, although the pair have only played in one FIFA World Cup fixture, a 2-0 loss at the 2002 event. There is little recent history between the sides, so it is difficult to identify any historical trends that are significant to this match.
The South Americans have won five World Cups, and are unsurprisingly the favourites heading into this match. Yet there is plenty to like about Belgium, and there is a sense that another quarter-final exit would be seen as another under-achievement by this golden generation.
Brazil are available for +104, while Belgium can be obtained for +264. The draw is a decent chance, on offer for +238. It’s a tough match to pick, but we have liked the Brazilians in this tournament and we’re sticking with our original pick.
We’re also expecting goals in what has been a reasonably high-scoring tournament. Go for Brazil 3-2