World Cup 2018: 4 Things Brazil need to do to win against Belgium
The quarterfinals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup are finally upon us and there are a few mouth-watering clashes in store. The match between Brazil and Belgium tops the list. The showdown in Kazan has all the ingredients to be a ‘match for the ages’ as the game would see the second-ranked team in the world fight it out against the third-ranked team.
Brazil enjoyed a comfortable 2-0 victory against Mexico in the Round of 16. Though Brazil were under the cosh at the start, they found a way to weather that storm and emerge victorious. Neymar and Firmino came up with the goals while Willian put in a man of the match display. The Brazilians also looked solid defensively and were able to repel everything Mexico threw at them.
Belgium, on the other hand, pulled off a miraculous comeback against Japan to win 3-2. The Japanese scored two goals within the space of five minutes to gain the upper hand. But, Belgium came roaring back and drew parity with goals from Vertonghen and Fellaini. In stoppage time, Chadli put the icing on the cake and extinguished Japan’s hopes of progressing.
Brazil have been solid in their games till now, having conceded just a solitary goal while they have been efficient going forward. A return of seven goals scored in four games is not something to be laughed at. However, Belgium represents the toughest proposition that Brazil has tackled yet.
Through this article, we would look at a few things that Brazil need to do to inch a step closer to the ‘Hexa’.
#1 Keep Hazard quiet
Eden Hazard, the Belgium captain, has been in sparkling form in Russia. He has been pulling the strings for Belgium and has gotten himself on the scoresheet twice. He has also bagged two assists on the way. None of the teams till now have been able to neutralize the ‘Hazard threat’.
Fagner would most probably start as the right-back for Brazil and he would have his hands full tackling Hazard. In the game against Mexico, Carlos Vela got a lot of change out of Fagner. Fagner represents Brazil’s weakest link and Belgium would want to make full use of it.
A probable solution would be to ask Fagner to not venture too far forward and get caught out. He would also need to be very tight to Hazard and not offer him space. If Hazard is afforded space in the attacking third, it is a recipe for disaster.
Hazard is one of the best 1v1 attackers. Hence, the Brazilians need to track back and ensure that such a situation is not created. Fernandinho, Paulinho and Willian would have a huge role to play.
If Hazard is kept quiet, Brazil would fancy their chances of getting through. However, if Hazard is able to pull the strings and make the play, the consequences for Brazil would be ‘hazardous’.