2018 FIFA World Cup: Day 19

With the first pair of Quarter Finals for both halves of the knockout draw confirmed, focus switches back to the top half, as France and Uruguay discover who their potential Semi-Final opposition could be. 

First up is the Brazil vs Mexico as both sides look to keep their title bid alive before Belgium then face Japan in the evening game. 


Brazil vs Mexico

Mexico are yet to beat  or even score against Brazil at a World Cup but will really fancy their chances here, having drawn their last meeting 0-0 in this competition four years ago in the group stage.  

Brazil have however kept a clean sheet in last three clashes with El Tri, securing a pair of 2-0 wins either side of that goalless draw.

One thing that could end that impressive run of clean sheets is that Brazil haven’t really been clinical enough in final third, despite dominating possession. 

Mexico meanwhile have a nice counter attacking style, which stunned Germany on Day Four of tournament so will punish any mistakes.  

Realistically, this is Brazil’s to lose and as nice as it would be to see Mexico spring a shock I just can’t see it happening here.

Prediction: Brazil 2-1 Mexico


Belgium vs Japan

World Cup - Group G - Belgium vs Panama
Can Romelu Lukaku guide Belgium to second consecutive Quarter Final? (Reuters)

Belgium might of topped Group G but Japan have been quite a thorn in their side over the years. 

In five previous meetings, these sides drew their first two before Japan then won two in a row. Belgium however won their most recent meeting in a friendly during November 2017, with Romelu Lukaku netting the only goal midway through second half. 

One of those draws did however come at 2002 World Cup when these sides played out a 2-2 draw in their opening group game of that tournament. 

Now in present, this is the strongest Belgium squad ever with star players like Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku at peak of their game and are the top goal scoring team with nine goals so far.

Japan meanwhile boast plenty of experience but no real threats who will trouble the Red Devils much here.

For that reason, I can see a comfortable Belgian win.

Prediction: Belgium 2-0 Japan 


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