Belgium vs. Brazil
|Date & Time||Friday July 6, 2018, 2:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Belgium +290 / Brazil +104 / Draw +241 -- Over/Under: 2.5
Brazil and Belgium meet Friday in World Cup soccer action at the Kazan Arena.
Brazil is coming off a commanding 2-0 victory over Mexico in which it got 10 shots on goal and was led by goals from Neymar and Roberto Firmino. Brazil lost the possession battle and was fouled 18 times by El Tri, but little could slowdown the Green and Yellow, as this side is in the World Cup quarterfinals for a sixth straight appearance. When Neymar is himself and able to be the playmaker he is, this Brazil squad has a whole different feel to it and is tough to beat. Neymar has now found the back of the net in two of his last three matches and even upset Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio with some of his antics in the late second half. Brazil has now scored at least two goals in five of its last six matches and hasn’t been shutout since a November friendly against England. Brazil has a chance to make the semifinals of the World Cup for the fifth time in its last six tries.
Belgium is coming off a scare against Japan in which it had to climb out of an 0-2 hole and score three goals in a little over 30 minutes. It certainly raises some concerns moving forward, but it also shows just how explosive Belgium can be when its pushing the pace and looking to takeover a match. Once Takashi Inui found the back of the net for Japan, the Red Devils were a completely different team and got constant offensive pressure and quality shots on goal. If Belgium can play with that type of focus and aggressiveness from the start, this is possibly the toughest team in the tournament to beat. There are positive signs from the close result, but we can’t ignore the fact that Belgium was almost upset by Japan, which may have been the most shocking result of the tournament in a year where there’s been tons of upsets. Belgium has a chance to make the semifinals of the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
The most recent match between Belgium and Brazil was in the 2002 World Cup, a match Brazil won 2-0. The match was won thanks to goals from Rivaldo and Ronaldo.
There’s not much to say about Brazil that hasn’t already been said, as it’s the favorite to win the World Cup, has its star playing like a star, has the motivation and the experience to get the job done. But Belgium was my pick to win the tournament before it started, and I can’t back off that now. While a near loss to Japan is worrisome, Belgium still got the job done by dominating the final 30 minutes and is capable of duplicating that for a full match due to the offensive depth. That close call could also be good for Belgium, as it wakes everybody up and gives a new level of confidence knowing its never out of a match.
I’ll take Belgium to advance.