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Ferdinand: Belgium the ‘team to beat’

Belgium are the favourites to lift the World Cup this summer according to former Manchester United and England defender, Rio Ferdinand.

The Red Devils set up a semi-final fixture against fellow European giants and 1998 World Cup winners France, after dumping pre-tournament favourites Brazil out of the competition.

Roberto Martinez’s side, which is littered with Premier League talent, raced to a 2-0 lead thanks to an own goal by Man City midfielder Fernandinho, before his City teammate Kevin de Bruyne fired home an absolute rocket of a strike.

The Belgians were forced to worry for the last 30 minutes or so when the five time World Champions came on strong, with Renato Augusto pulling back an equaliser in the second half with a fine header. It would ultimately not be enough though, leaving Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand to declare the Belgians as the favourites to become the new world champions:

“This result was huge,” said Ferdinand.

“They seem like they have a few leaders. This team were questioned for their mentality and character coming into this tournament – they disappointed at the Euros two years ago.

“This golden generation are answering their critics in the perfect way. The manner in which they dispatched Brazil, the way they started the game and bullied a very good team and then got over the line, shows they have got the bit between their teeth. They are the team to beat now.”

Belgium face France in the semi-final after they beat Uruguay 2-0.

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