Twenty years ago, France and Brazil played in the final game of the World Cup. Zinedine Zidane scored a double for the hosts in a game which Les Bleus won by 3-0. We could be getting a remake of that final in the semi finals at Russia 2018.
France face Uruguay in the Round of 8 and as we explained in another post, are favorites to go through to the semifinals. Our prediction is 1-0 to France.
Brazil will play against a Belgium who were highly rated ahead of the tournament but not so much after 4 games at the World Cup. The Belgians, while impressive on paper, almost crashed out to a brave Japanese team. Roberto Martinez, a coach whose palmares is anything but impressive, might not have enough tactical acumen to get one past Tite. The Brazilian coach came up with a tactical masterpiece to defeat Mexico and another one could be coming.
Coach Tite knows how to stop teams and take advantage via his talented creative players such as Neymar, Coutinho and Willian. Defence seemed to be a soft spot for la Selecao but Fagner and Filipe Luis have done well to quash any doubts the absences of Dani Alves and Marcelo brought in. Brazil have won 5 World Cups and have looked very comfortable on the way to the quarter finals this year. Should they up their gear for this game, Belgium could flounder.
The European nation does not have much experience in the latter stages at a World Cup. There is also the added pressure of getting something out of the “golden generation” for Martinez. Belgium do boast one World Cup winner in Thierry Henry but the former Arsenal striker is only at his first ever coaching job and this seems more like an internship for him than a major help for Belgium.
Brazil have a better well rounded squad and a coach with enough strategical intelligence to prevent the opposition from playing their game. While Belgium have amazing individuals in Hazard, Lukaku and De Bruyne, this Brazilian team might be too much for them to overcome.
Our prediction: Brazil 3-1 Belgium
If Brazil do win, this will be a remake of the 1998 final! We can’t wait!