Brazil vs. Belgium: Team News, Live Stream, TV Info for World Cup 2018

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2018

(COMBO) This combination of photos created on July 4, 2018 shows Belgium's forward Romelu Lukaku in Sochi on June 18, 2018 (L) and Brazil's forward Neymar in Samara on July 2, 2018. - Brazil will face Belgium in their Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on July 6, 2018. (Photo by Nelson ALMEIDA and Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP)        (Photo credit should read NELSON ALMEIDA,EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Brazil's match against Belgium at the Kazan Arena on Friday is probably the standout fixture of the quarter-finals at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The Selecao are tournament favourites, but Belgium might be the competition's most exciting team. The Red Devils have helped themselves to 12 goals through four matches, recently coming back from 2-0 down to see off Japan 3-2 in the last 16.

Few teams are able match the firepower Belgium can unleash on defences. Strikers Romelu Lukaku and Dries Mertens, along with creative types Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard, are a quartet of legitimate match-winners.

Brazil have their own flair in forward areas thanks to talisman Neymar. Yet the Selecao are being defined by defensive solidity rather than attacking prowess, having conceded just one goal in four games.


Date: Friday, July 6

Time: 9 p.m. local time (7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET)

TV Info: BBC One/Fox Sports 1


Brazil's defensive resolve will be tested by the absence of key holding midfielder Casemiro, who will miss the match due to suspension. The Real Madrid star is a natural enforcer who shields the back four brilliantly for his country.

Casemiro won't be available to screen Brazil's defence.
Casemiro won't be available to screen Brazil's defence.MB Media/Getty Images

Manchester City's Fernandinho is likely to take his place, ensuring the Selecao retain an imposing platform in midfield. Fernandinho's main task will be subduing City team-mate Kevin De Bruyne.

The latter has struggled for consistency in Russia, amid problems finding his best role. It's an issue the Daily Mirror's Alex Richards believes coach Roberto Martinez can solve by granting De Bruyne more freedom and drafting Mousa Dembele into the starting XI alongside him.

If De Bruyne is able to exploit more space in Casemiro's absence, he will keep the lines of supply open to Lukaku, who is in prolific form, having already netted four goals in the tournament.

Lukaku may find himself outdone by Neymar, who was the star of Brazil's 2-0 win over Mexico. The 26-year-old scored and assisted against El Tri, but he received stern criticism for perceived playacting directed toward what many thought were attempts to exaggerate fouls:

BBC 5 live Sport @5liveSport

"I'm embarrassed for him" - @DionDublinsDube Neymar claims Layun stood on his ankle on the touchline. But his reaction was "as if there were invisible crocodiles surrounding the edge of the pitch" 📱📻 https://t.co/sN3eZOIMrt #WorldCup #bbcworldcup #BRAMEX https://t.co/V3dDlV9qlr

Neymar may have irked his critics at times, but the gifted No. 10 has been producing in the final third for his country. Similar magic can see Brazil over the line in what should be an entertaining game promising goals.