Brazil v Belgium: Four reasons to back Red Devils to cause an upset

Belgium training at World Cup 2018
Belgium's Golden Generation pose a huge threat to Brazil
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Dave Tindall has been following Group G teams throughout the World Cup and believes Belgium can stun tournament favourites Brazil in Friday night's World Cup quarter-final showdown. Here's why...

"By playing a more open game, Martinez is gambling but that willingness to take risks could just turn this game in Belgium's favour."

1pt Belgium win and Both teams to Score at [7.0]

Brazil v Belgium
Friday, 19:00
Live on BBC One

1) Red Devils a winning machine

Belgium - played four, won four in World Cup 2018.

Belgium - unbeaten in 23 games.

You have to rewind to September 2016 to find the last time Roberto Martinez's men tasted defeat.

And if you take the 2-1 win over the Czech Republic as a starting point, the Red Devils have won 14 of their last 16 internationals, including their last six in a row.

If the quality of opposition wasn't always the best, the Belgians have an ingrained winning habit.

Take their last two matches. It would actually have suited them in terms of the draw not to have beaten England. And then they found themselves 2-0 down to Japan with 21 minutes left.

No bother. Belgium won both matches. They can't stop winning.

2) Goals flying in everywhere

Belgium were the joint-top scorers in European qualifying, netting 43 times.

They warmed up for Russia 2018 with 3-0 and 4-1 wins over Egypt and Costa Rica and now they're the top scorers in this World Cup with 12 goals after their late trio against Japan.

The good news is that their main striker, Romelu Lukaku, has 'only' scored 33% of them.

The tallies so far:

4 Romelu Lukaku
2 Eden Hazard,
1 Dries Mertens, Michy Batshuayi, Adnan Januzaj, Jan Vertonghen, Marouane Fellaini, Nacer Chadli

That's eight different scorers and doesn't yet include Kevin De Bruyne.

Scoring twice and keeping out Lukaku and Hazard was surely a winning recipe for Japan. Nope, Belgium found three other scorers to get the job done.

3) Belgium have a Plan B

Belgium have scored some beautiful goals from open play in this World Cup.

The highlight was surely the last-gasp winner against Japan as they went the length of the pitch to make it 3-2. Courtois catches corner, rolls to De Bruyne, who finds Meunier on the right. Lukaku dummies the cross before Chadli slots home.

A goal more Brazilian than any the Samba stars have scored in this World Cup.

But as well as their open, flowing football getting results, Belgium have a Plan B.

The two goals which brought them back from 2-0 down against Japan were both headers. The first from Vertonghen had an element of luck but Fellaini's was absolutely planned. Bring on the big man, plonk him in the box, send in crosses and hopefully he'll nut one in.

Admittedly, Brazil have only conceded once in this World Cup but that was from a header after poor marking at a corner.

Fellaini, if needed, will punish any such lax defending on Friday night.

4) Belgium are a tactical threat

Belgium's 3-4-3 could cause Brazil problems here.

Wing-backs Yannick Carrasco and Thomas Meunier should see plenty of the ball out wide and, at times, the Belgians will have five men pushed forward.

With Lukaku such an aerial threat, Brazil need to be wary of crosses and, if they drop deep, De Bruyne will have space to operate outside the box.

The interesting thing here is that Martinez's mentality is almost Brazilian while opposing coach Tite's is more European.

Martinez won't send his team out to keep it tight and try and nick a set-piece. It's not what he does.

By playing a more open game, Martinez is gambling but that willingness to take risks could just turn this game in Belgium's favour.

And with that in mind a punt on Belgium to win and BTTS has to make appeal at [7.0].

Dave Tindall's World Cup P/L

Staked: 22pts
Returned: 23pts
P/L: +1pt

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