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Belgium fancied to knock Brazil out of the World Cup

Brazil and Belgium go head-to-head on Friday evening with a place in the World Cup semi-finals up for grabs.

The Samba Kings defeated Mexico 2-0 to progress to the last eight of the tournament, while Belgium came from two goals down to beat Japan 3-2.

The two sides have played each other four times previously, with Brazil winning three. Their most recent meeting came in the last 16 of the 2002 World Cup, where goals by Rivaldo and Ronaldo gave Brazil a 2-0 victory.

Brazil are priced at 23/20 to win the match in 90 minutes, with Belgium available at 13/5 and the draw on offer at 12/5.

Three of the eight quarter-final ties in Russia were decided on penalties, and both sides are priced at 11/1 to win by that method.

If the game does go to a shoot-out the teams will be hoping to win the right to take their spot-kicks first. According to research conducted by Betway, just three of the last 15 shoot-outs have been won by the team that went second.

Brazil will be without Casemiro, who is suspended after picking his second yellow card of the tournament. Manchester City star Fernandinho is likely to replace him.

Gabriel Jesus’s starting spot could be in doubt after another positive contribution from substitute Roberto Firmino against Mexico.

The Liverpool forward came off the bench to grab Brazil’s second goal against Mexico and he may replace Jesus who has been disappointing in Russia.

Belgium have no new injury concerns, although manager Roberto Martinez must decide whether to start with the same team that began the Japan game or the one that finished it so well.

Although Brazil are favourites to win the World Cup, Belgium are formidable opponents and there are reasons to believe they could spring a surprise in Kazan.

They displayed some defensive frailties against Japan, but Martinez reorganised his team and they showed superb fighting spirit to get themselves back in the match.

Brazil’s centre-half partnership of Miranda and Thiago Silva have looked steady so far, although they are yet to face a team with the Belgium’s level of attacking talent.

The likes of Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne could cause Brazil’s backline plenty of problems and if Belgium can keep things tight defensively they are capable of booking a place in the semi-finals.

Belgium can be backed at 7/5 to reach the last four and that looks the call in what could be one of the best matches of this summer’s World Cup.

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