Friday, September 21, 2018

Prediction: Brazil vs Belgium

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: bet365

Brazil negotiated another important obstacle on the road to the 2018 World Cup finals as they defeated Mexico, but they now face a stern test against the tournament’s highest scoring side. Belgium came back from two goals down to earn a last-gasp win over Japan, but they will need to show massive improvement if they want to challenge for the major trophy.

Brazil

Brazil arrived in Russia high on confidence following some solid showings in the qualifiers and warm-up games, but the players were under pressure to put the 2014 nightmare behind them and prove everyone they are now back to their best. In all fairness, the Selecao did not impress in the group stage, but they had just enough quality to secure the first place in the group, having defeated Costa Rica and Serbia after the opening draw against Switzerland.

Brazil were also below par against Mexico, but they defeated really well before PSG superstar Neymar took matters into his own hands, scoring and assisting in a 2-0 win. Chelsea midfielder Willian was also instrumental in the game against El Tri, while Roberto Firmino staked a claim for a starting berth with a late goal. Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus is still struggling for form, and that could prove to be a problem when facing very good Belgium side, but there have been some very good news for head coach Tite.

Team News

Namely, both Marcelo and Douglas Costa resumed training in midweek, and they will be in contention for the all-important clash against the Red Devils.

Belgium

Everybody agrees that this is Belgium’s golden generation, as manager Roberto Martinez has an abundance of talent in all areas of the team, but the reality is the Red Devils have yet to mount a serious title challenge at major competitions. They were close to doing so two years ago, only to surprisingly lost to Wales in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals, but the players are now determined to make things right in Russia.

And while they eased off to the first place in Group G, defeating the likes of Panama, Tunisia and England, the Red Devils experienced all sorts of problems against Japan in the first knockout phase. They looked set for an embarrassing exit as the Asian side scored two goals at the start of the second period, but Jan Vertonghen puled one back before substitutes Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli won the game for Belgium. Having shown a great deal of character few days ago, the Red Devils will be up for the highly-anticipated battle against Brazil, and it is anyone’s guess who comes out on top.

Team News

Fellaini and Chadli are unlikely to start despite impressing against Japan, but there are no selection worries for Roberto Martinez.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Brazil recorded three successive 2-0 wins
  • Belgium won all four games at the 2018 World Cup
  • Brazil defeated Belgium at the 2002 World Cup
  • The Selecao unbeaten in last 16 (W12 D4)
  • Belgium averaging 3 goals per game in Russia

Conclusion

This is likely to be a tightly contested affair, but with both sides pretty impressive when going forward, we can see them both getting on the scoresheet in regular time. Therefore, backing both teams to score seems like the right thing to do.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: bet365

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