Playing ‘favourites’ Brazil a dream for Belgium, says Roberto Martinez

Roberto Martínez has led Belgium to the World Cup quarterfinals

Roberto Martínez has led Belgium to the World Cup quarterfinals

"A football match should never end by taking penalties", Tite said Thursday. "But I don't know what to suggest instead".

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.

Lukaku believes the team has improved since Euro 2016, when they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Wales.

Martinez hailed the playmaker's ability to stay cool under pressure ahead of the quarter-final against Brazil in Kazan.

Get the latest World Cup news updates.

Kevin De Bruyne has developed into a "leader" for Belgium and is "essential" to their World Cup chances, says coach Roberto Martinez. Three of the eight knockout matches so far at this year's World Cup were decided by a penalty shootout. "It's an incredible responsibility".

Fortunately for the Selecao, Belgium has a poor record against South American sides at the World Cup.

Most pre-tournament modelling has been put through the shredder by the eliminations of traditional heavyweights like Germany and Spain.

Although he failed to score in Belgium's final group game, it was Lukaku's inspired contribution during a late counter-attack that allowed Nacer Chadli to score a last-gasp victor against Japan that avoided the humiliation of an early exit to a team ranked 44th in the world.

Zuber's goal for Switzerland is the only one they've conceded in their last nine games since November 2017 and in all they have shipped just five in 23 matches going back to September 2016, shortly after Tite's arrival as head coach, and have yet to concede twice in a match in two years under him.

Despite Belgium's lack of tournament success, Martinez said his players "cannot wait" to face Brazil in Kazan.

Brazil's defensive resolve will be tested by the absence of key holding midfielder Casemiro, who will miss the match due to suspension.

The stylish Eden Hazard and Belgium are the next group deployed to break down this Brazilian defence, but the changes Tite has made mean they are as hard to breach as at any time in their recent history. Sometimes counter-attacking. The sense of team work, that's the best virtue.

"I think it's the first time that I've seen Kevin growing into a very important player of this group on the pitch in the most important moments. But our defense is going to be well prepared to neutralize all of their attacks".

Marcelo suffered a back problem that meant he was taken off as Brazil beat Serbia in their last group game and sat out the round-of-16 win over Mexico.

Their win over Mexico showed textbook defending from the central pairing of Thiago Silva and Miranda, assisted by full backs Fagner and Filipe Luis.

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