Brazil vs Belgium - Marcelo returns as World Cup hopefuls Brazil and Belgium clash in Kazan

Posted Friday, July 06, 2018 by PA

Brazil vs Belgium - Marcelo returns as World Cup hopefuls Brazil and Belgium clash in Kazan

Brazil coach Tite has confirmed that Real Madrid full-back Marcelo will return to the side to face Belgium in Friday’s World Cup quarter-final in Kazan.

Marcelo was forced off early on in Brazil’s final group game as they beat Serbia to assure themselves of top spot in Group E, before the same back problem cost him a place in the team that beat Mexico 2-0.

A soft mattress at the team hotel has been blamed for aggravating the issue but Tite revealed during Thursday’s press conference in Kazan that the 30-year-old will replace Filipe Luis against Belgium.

“I talked to Marcelo and Filipe Luis,” said Tite.

“Marcelo left (against Serbia) because of a clinical problem and he has not been back because of a physical problem, he only had 45 to 60 minutes. Filipe Luis played very well in those matches but Marcelo is coming back.”

The Brazil coach went on to confirm that Fernandinho will also come into the side.

The Manchester City midfielder has yet to start a game in Russia but will replace Casemiro – who misses out through suspension – and is likely to be joined in the starting XI by club-mate Gabriel Jesus, despite the fact the forward has yet to score in the finals.

Defender Miranda joined Tite at the press conference at the Kazan Arena and the Inter Milan man will captain the Selecao.

The 33-year-old, ever-present throughout the finals, is expecting a tough test from a Belgium side who came from two goals behind to beat Japan and set up a clash between two of the tournament favourites.

Asked about the threat posed by Manchester United forward Romelu Lukaku, Miranda replied: “Belgium is not just Lukaku.

“They are a very strong attacking team but the main way to stop the opponent is to be aware of all of the players who are on the pitch because there are several high-quality players, they are very skilful.

“Our defence is going to be very well prepared to neutralise all of the opponents’ attacks.”

While Brazil are chasing an unprecedented sixth World Cup triumph, Belgium are still seeking their first appearance in a final.

However, Belgium boss Roberto Martinez says that past record is the only thing separating the two teams heading into Friday’s encounter, insisting there is “something special” about the current crop of Red Devils players.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, the former Everton manager said: “The two sides are very similar in terms of qualities. The difference is we haven’t won a World Cup – simple as that.

“When you go into a tournament if you don’t have that know-how of winning one you can’t have an advantage on the opponent.”

He insists they are ready for the challenge of the South American heavyweights, though.

“We shouldn’t play Brazil, we shouldn’t be in awe of the opportunity we have. We need to enjoy our game, be ourselves. When we do that our talent shows,” he added.

“There is something special in this squad, no doubt about it. The signs are positive and of a real desire to be on the football pitch.

“We can’t wait. I feel we are as ready as we can be. Over the last two years we have been working towards this moment.”



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