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World Cup 2018: 3 players who let Brazil down 

ANALYST
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Brazil v Belgium: Quarter Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Brazil players being consoled after Friday's quarter-final defeat by Belgium

Despite being favourites, Brazil was knocked out of the World Cup at the quarter-final stage after a 2-1 defeat to Belgium. They did so ruing missed opportunities against a side who soaked up pressure well and hit them on the counter, a tactic that crucially exposed the Seleção's weaknesses without possession. 

Having drawn their group stage opener against Switzerland, three successive 2-0 victories over Costa Rica, Serbia and Mexico saw them face Roberto Martinez's side with a semi-final place up for grabs. 

Goals from Kevin de Bruyne and an own goal from club teammate Fernandinho were enough to secure the Belgians' passage into the final four, although Brazil will count themselves unlucky - especially after missing goal-scoring opportunities and having a genuine penalty appeal waved away by referee Milorad Mazic in the second-half. 

This loss means that Brazil have now been eliminated from the competition at the same stage on three of the last four installments. 

So without further ado, here's the three players who let Brazil down the most when they were needed this summer.


#3 Fernandinho

2018 FIFA World Cup quarterfinals: Brazil 1 - 2 Belgium
Fernandinho struggled when his presence in midfield was needed most

The picture above effectively shows where Fernandinho's downfall was and why he deserves a place on this list. There were other names that could have otherwise featured here, but given the integral part he played in Manchester City's record breaking season last term, his performances in Russia were underwhelming for someone of his quality. 

He made substitute appearances in all but one of Brazil's five World Cup matches, the quarter-final - where he started in place of the suspended Casemiro. On paper, this represented a like-for-like replacement and one which should not have been so significant. In reality, it definitely was. 

Casemiro is by no means the perfect defensive midfielder, he too has flaws like any other player. He makes up for his lack of mobility by intelligent positioning and sitting deep, avoiding risks where possible before sweeping up danger accordingly.

Fernandinho meanwhile, is not the same. Keen to get on the ball where possible, he's unafraid to venture forward when required and equally happy to commit tactical fouls too. 

You can forgive him for scoring the own goal, as he attempted to clear his lines but misjudged the ball's trajectory in mid-air. However, he continually found himself overrun in midfield and Paulinho's presence alongside him was not enough to resolve this.

He made the most interceptions (5) of any player on the pitch, but crucially did not complete a tackle nor clearance and committed two fouls against a ruthless Belgian side. 

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ANALYST
Sports writer and editor - European and youth football analyst. PSG news correspondent. Email: mosope.ominiyi@gmail.com
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