World Cup Preview: Brazil v Belgium

Who? Brazil - Belgium
Where? Kazan Arena, Kazan
When? July 6, 20:00 (CET local time)

Brazil (Vitor Buratini Mendes)

The history of Brazil and Belgium is completely positive for A Seleção. In four matches, Brazil won four times, and the last one was the most striking and important. In the round of 16 of 2002 World Cup, the last time Brazil won the World Cup, Brazil defeated the Belgian national team 2:0. In this match, the Ronaldo and Rivaldo scored, the two main players of that team. A forward and a midfielder. Will we see a repeat by Neymar and Coutinho?

If the Brazil will keep to improve like in the previous matches, it may happen. In the last match, against Mexico, the Mexican played 25 minutes of pressure. However since then only Brazil played, with scoring two goals in the second half. One of them was after a great play by Willian, that had been criticized for his performances in the previous matches. The other, scored by Firmino, that many believe that he must be in the lineup for the next matches. Changing the team or not, in the next match probably all the players will be available for Brazil except from one player, Danilo, who would not return to play in this tournament. Douglas Costa is expected to return to the bench after recovering from injury.

The expectations among the Brazilians are great. The excitement of the fans is increasing in every match and everyone believes that winning the title is really possible. It is also amazing to see how much support the Brazilians get is in other countries. All this positive energy, coming from all over the world is very important. The Brazilian people are grateful and hope that the team will give them love back.

 Brazil, getting better in every match (Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Brazil, getting better in every match (Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Belgium (Omri Tancman)

The first and last time Brazil and Belgium met in an official match was in 2002. Belgium lost 2-0 and Brazil continued on to lift the trophy and become world champions. From this squad there are no remains and the current golden generation of Belgian football was built on the ashes of this team after a long term program.

In the last world cup, Belgium met another South American team in quarter finals, Argentina, and lost 1-0 prior to its elimination. Based on these results, some might argue that the Belgians are losers who have no chances against South American teams. However, when considering the current match up with Brazil, Belgium has in a way a secret weapon on their bench. From all personnel in current Belgian national team the only one who has ever one Brazil is Thierry Henry.

Much has been talked recently about the contribution of Henry to the Belgian national squad. Different topics were heavily analyzed, from his relationship with Lukaku, to his mental influence and attacking vision and coaching ability. But besides all of this, sometimes what is needed is just to consult with someone who already knows how to do it.

In this case, there is no doubt that Henry, who scored the winning goal in the 1-0 win of France against Brazil in 2006, is a very good address. Even without magically turning Kevin de Bruyne to Zinadine Zidane, no one doubts that with the know-how Henry possesses, he can give this squad the small edge they missed in previous stages such as this.

 Thierry Henry, brings his experience to Belgium (Alex Morton/Getty Images)

Thierry Henry, brings his experience to Belgium (Alex Morton/Getty Images)

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