Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Brazil aim to beat Belgium over 90 minutes in quarters, says Tite

Brazil team news: Willian, Neymar to start in this 4-3-3 against Belgium on Friday? | Daily Star Survivors Belgium brace for Brazil challenge
Jennie Wade | 06 July, 2018, 07:03

Brazil coach Tite has defended Neymar from criticism over his histrionics on the pitch and said he was just happy to have the team's talisman playing "at his best" ahead of Friday's quarter-final against Belgium.

"Individually, Brazil are the strongest team in this World Cup", Kompany, who made the last of his worldwide appearances as a substitute in the 1-0 win over England, told reporters.

Brazil are playing the quarter-final for the seventh successive World Cup tournament. "I think it's a way to hide your fear", he told a news conference Thursday. "But for us, being able to travel around the world, everyone in our team believes one hundred percent we can beat Brazil".

Everyone knew about the array of talent running through the Belgium side, from Thibaut Courtois in goal to Kevin De Bruyne in midfield and Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku up front.

The teams have progressed through different means but each arrive with confidence after rousing wins in their last starts. "He's essential for us".

The Chelsea ace is now nearly certain to start Friday evening's quarter-final against Brazil, which Martinez hopes will provide one of his key men with the platform to further showcase his brilliance.

"If the match comes down to a duel of individualities, we have no chance", said Kompany. "The difference is we haven't won a World Cup, simple as that", he said.

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Belgium were thankful to goals from substitutes Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli in their comeback win over Japan but Martinez is likely to keep the same team that started the game. "Of course I want them to grow more and more, that's the challenge".

Belgium are unbeaten in their last 23 matches (W18 D5), the longest current run of any team left in the 2018 World Cup.

"We're constantly improving. We just have to step up to another level against Brazil".

The winners of the clash will face either France or Uruguay in St Petersburg on July 10.

Belgium lead the way in the tournament for goals scored, having netted 12 in their four games so far, while Brazil have managed seven - with both scoring in every game. With Casemiro out, De Bruyne can be the man to exploit Brazil's core.

Should Kompany feature in the match against Brazil, he will nearly certainly come across Neymar, who at this tournament has come under heavy criticism for "theatrics" in order to gain a positive decision from referees on the pitch. Neymar will have to be careful not to pick up another booking as he would miss a semifinal should Brazil prevail.

"I've spoken with both Marcelo and Filipe Luis".

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