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09 Jul 2018

World Cup 2018: Team of the Quarter Finals - Belgium

World Cup 2018: Team of the Quarter Finals - Belgium

Belgium overcame tournament favourites Brazil in a tight 2-1 victory on Friday night.

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Attacking quality

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Defence is strong too

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Roberto Martinez

Reuters/SERGIO PEREZ

So here we are. Four countries vying for the ultimate glory of being world champions. 

Belgium, France, England, and Croatia all have a chance of making history and it is hard to argue that these four sides aren’t deserving of their place in the final four. 

France cruised through their group, scored four past Argentina and then defeated a stubborn Uruguay side 2-0 to make the final four.

England again cruised through their group, defeated Colombia on penalties and then professionally dispatched Sweden 2-0 last time out.

Croatia have been less convincing since the knockouts began, they have relied on penalties to get past Denmark and Russia.

Belgium, though, have been by far the most impressive side. They collected nine points in the groups, including a victory against fellow semi-finalists England. Japan gave them a scare in the round of 16, taking a 2-0 lead before Belgium stormed back with a 3-2 win. 

Against Brazil, they showed their attacking quality and their defensive resistance to a superb team to continue their path to World Cup glory.

Attacking quality

Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne, and Eden Hazard comprise arguably the best front three left at the tournament and they showed their brilliance against Brazil.

Lukaku was a menace up front, he put in a selfless performance as the Brazil defence struggled to cope with his pace and physical play. Intelligent runs and superb footwork all played a part in Lukaku’s superb performance and he helped those around him to wreak more havoc. 

Reuters/TORU HANAI

Kevin De Bruyne was the complete midfielder with his box-box play, passing, tackling and overall work rate being arguably the best on the field. Oh, and don't forget, he pinged a stunning effort to give Belgium a 2-0 lead - the decisive goal on the evening. 

And Eden Hazard put in arguably his best performance ever in a Belgian shirt with a true captains performance. He probed and dribbled his way to constant free kicks and respite for his defence while always providing a significant attacking threat. Brazil could not afford to rest with him around.

The Belgian attacking trio is the best at the tournament, and the quarter-final performance proved that. 

Defence is strong too

Don’t forget about that Belgian defence either. Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, and Jan Vertonghen make Belgium as stern a team to get past as any. And if you do manage to breach them, you just have Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to get past. 

Against Brazil, their defence was phenomenal. Kompany was commanding his defensive line while his counterparts snuffed out any chance of a Brazil come back with their phenomenal play. 

Reuters/SERGIO PEREZ

Neymar, Firmino, and Coutinho in particular were found wanting as they struggled to put their stamp on the game because of the Belgian defence. 

And when Brazil did get past them? Well, Courtois was there to repel them as he made a few world-class saves to keep Belgium in the game. 

They may have gotten away with one as Kompany looked to have brought Gabriel Jesus down, but they had earned that luck through the rest of their play.

It really was a solid Belgian wall that brought them into the final four.

Roberto Martinez

Finally, we reach the manager. Roberto Martinez was on thin ice before the tournament started as he made questionable management decisions with his squad.

But now it is clear that he has picked a squad that works and fits the system they are playing perfectly. 

Reuters/GLEB GARANICH

His reputation was in tatters when he left Everton, but now Belgium have given him the chance to rebuild it and he has not looked back. 

The two-goal comeback against Japan was the tonic this team needed to believe in itself and Martinez has used that momentum to guide them into the semifinals.

He deserves a lot of praise for making Belgium the team to beat and arguably the favourites to win the World Cup.

Do you think Belgium can go all the way? Let us know below!