Kevin De Bruynes Worth
While Manchester City star Kevin de Bruyne does not yet have a name in Belgium, he is one of the tournament leaders in the more esoteric (but still quite important) category of chances. Goals that can be said to still be the most important, but De Bruyne has proved invaluable, not least because of the outbreak of the winner against Japan.
"His role in our team was underestimated," Roberto Martinez said this week. "Maybe because at club level he's always at the bottom of an ass or at the bottom of a goal and Kevin De Bruyne can easily bring it to a climax."
"I think Kevin De Bruyne had a lot more influence on our team, a bit earlier, so that his team has the influence we have in the last third and is a real playmaker for us. "
The difference is experience
Martinez, asked to compare Belgium Brazil:" The difference is clear. The two sides are very similar in quality to the one we have, the talent we have. The difference is that we won no World Cup. It's as simple as that. "
That has always been the problem with Belgium: they have always punched their weight, in terms of population, but like Spain for decades, they simply were not able to penetrate the elite bypassing the bad teams of the World Cup and even with the pretty good ones, but it has to get past marquee teams like Brazil to win a World Cup, and that never did.
"Brazil, what brings them is the expectation" Martinez said, "They know how to win World Cups."
Neymar flops, but Neymar is also beaten
Neymar has flopped a lot in recent Brazilian games, but do not let that hide the fact that he has more Neymar has been fouled 23 times in four games Lionel Messi (15) and Cristiano Ronaldo (14) are the # 2 and # 3 on the list who can give you an idea why Neymar is on the ground. Spain's Sergio Busquets is number 4, which is odd as he is a defensive midfielder, not the type of player that other teams really need to control.
Brazil's stellar defense
Brazil's attack is always his headliner, but the team's defensive achievements in Russia may have been even more impressive. Brazil only allowed a single goal in the World Cup in Switzerland in the 50th minute of their first game. She has recorded three consecutive wins since deciding on a draw in this game. "If I feel more relaxed then it's because the players put me in that position by playing better," Tite said.
Brazil vs. Belgium Top Story Lines
• Brazil have won five World Cups, a record. Belgium's best result was a trip to the semi-finals in Mexico in 1986, although it is the second time in a row in the quarter-finals.
• Brazil have their last two failures without Marcelo, the left-back, who missed the last game, but 10 minutes before with a back injury. Tite said on Thursday that Marcelo would be fit again and play against Belgium again.
• Belgium has scored the most goals scored by a team, but it also has 11 goals from an open game in a tournament with a penalty. England and Russia, for example, have each scored a third of their nine goals by penalties.
Lukaku, four, is behind the Golden Boot for Harry Kane and midfielder Eden Hazard has two. But Kevin De Bruyne has not scored. "Belgium is not just Lukaku," said Brazilian defender Miranda.
Neymar and Philippe Coutinho, each scoring two goals, lead Brazil into the lead.
• Brazil coach Tite does not want a penalty shootout on Friday. "A football game should never be resolved with the horror of punishment, and I do not see that as a valid result," he said. "But I do not know what to suggest."
• Martinez was asked on Thursday if he was interested in the (probably) soon to be vacated job in Spain. He wisely remained far from answering.
• Former French striker Thierry Henry is a member of the Belgian team, and Martinez has described his contributions as "very important". "He won the World Cup, he won the European Championships, he knows what you feel as a player when you're in that situation," he said.
Some Pregame Reading
• "Neymar does what all beginners do," said the actor. "They outbid the event." Andrew Keh on Neymar's Diving (he is not alone), his exaggerated answers (a bit much) and what he does wrong.
• Franklin Foer of The Atlantic is a fan of Neymar Diving. Deadspin says he should be "ashamed".
• Romelu Lukaku's recent contribution to The Players' Tribune about growing up in poverty, about the challenge of his age and heritage, about driving from the diluted milk on his muesli to the lead role for Manchester United, is it worth your time.
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