Rivaldo Exclusive: Neymar criticism is 'nonsense' and he will rise to occasion against Belgium

Rivaldo is fighting Neymar's corner and backing another Brazil win
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Betfair Ambassador Rivaldo comes to the defence of Brazil's star man as he looks ahead to La Selecao's quarter-final with Belgium...

"If defenders manage to stop Neymar without fouling him then he cannot stay on the floor for too long, but when other players start provoking him he must do his part, which is normal."

Neymar under heavy pressure

Brazil beat Mexico 2-0 in the last 16 of the World Cup and put on their best performance at the tournament so far.

But all the focus is on Neymar right now.

There has been so much debate about Neymar simulating fouls or wasting time on the floor, but I think that in a competition like this - with VAR - we shouldn't be paying too much attention to this.

Perhaps we should be talking about the officials? I've seen many referee mistakes during the World Cup, lots of stuff happening that is not being commented on, but still all the focus is on Neymar.

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If defenders manage to stop Neymar without fouling him then he cannot stay on the floor for too long, but when other players start provoking him he must do his part, which is normal.

I have no complaints about it - he is playing well, Brazil are winning while other traditionally strong teams have gone home, and the team is scoring at the right time and playing good football - but people insist on focusing on a minor thing that really isn't so important.

Players must be prepared for provocation

All this nonsense means other players attempt to provoke him even more, and he must be intelligent in these moments. Even referees could be influenced by this controversy and punish Neymar unfairly, but he must try to relax and I believe manager Tite would try to calm him down, telling him to just play his game as he always does.

He is already 26-years old, has lots of big game experience, and I believe he will raise to the occasion and deal with this tricky situation.

Belgium will cause Brazil problems

Given our World Cup tradition, Brazil are naturally the favourites to beat Belgium.

The Belgians come into the game after a dramatic last-minute victory over Japan, but they had a huge scare in that match.

Roberto Martinez's side made plenty of mistakes to give Japan a 2-0 lead, but they still had time to recover and win 3-2. Idon't think they will make the same errors and I expect a more cautious approach with the underdogs playing on the counter attack.

Belgium have many talented players and they won't make things easy for Brazil, but I still think la Selecao will manage to win the game. It will probably be similar to the two teams' meeting at the 2002 World Cup which ended in a 2-0 win for Brazil after a goalless first-half. I played and scored in that match and Belgium were a tricky opponent.

Brazil must pay close attention to Belgium's attackers. They will wait for Brazil to take control of the match but will also have their moments of offensive power. Belgium were fancied before the tournament and they are performing like genuine contenders.

And now they have a great opportunity to make history by beating Brazil. If they lose it would be considered normal as they are facing the five-time winners and current favourites, so this is a great chance for the Belgian players to achieve a memorable win.

For that reason, I don't think this will be easy for Brazil, but I believe they have conditions to progress and predict a 2-1 victory.

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