Brazil's Danilo ruled out of World Cup with ankle problem

Jordan Pickford

EPAJordan Pickford is beaten by Adnan Januzaj of Belgium

Brazil remain a firm favourite to win it but they'll have to beat a star-studded Belgian side in the quarter-final.

Chelsea team-mates Eden Hazard and N'Golo Kante will face each other down in midfield, with the victor of that particular duel potentially being key to which team reaches the final.

If I am right, then France will play Brazil in the semi-finals and England will play Croatia, which would not be too shabby a line-up.

Uruguay were dealt a devastating blow before kick-off in Nizhny Novgorod when Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani was ruled out after failing to recover from the injury he picked up in the win against Portugal.

His understudy is veteran target man Cristhian Stuani, who is a big drop in quality. Yes, Uruguay still have Luis Suarez, who is already a threat by himself, but with Cavani on the pitch, their link-up play can be devastating.

Aside from Kane, the pace of Raheem Sterling and Jesse Lingard could stretch an experienced Sweden defence led by 33-year-old skipper Andreas Granqvist. Can he do it again?

Uruguay's answer will be the intimidating central-defensive pairing of Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez. A key matchup could be Godin battling in the air with French striker Olivier Giroud. It's a record putting the onus on the France midfield to prove it has the creative nous to unlock a stubborn rearguard. Brazil's attack hasn't been as flowing as one would expect and, at times, it looks as if they aren't as confident in front of goal. Substitute Renato Augusto pulled one back for Brazil in the second half but it was not enough to save the South Americans from elimination from the tournament. Coached by Roberto Martinez and with a wealth of attacking talents which includes RomeluLukaku, Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne, the Red Devils cruised through their group with a 100 per cent record, before nearly coming unstuck against Japan in the round of 16. If Thiago Silva can hold his line and Philippe Coutinho continues to make those wonder-passes on the counter-attack to an inspired Firmino or Willian, it's game on. "I hope we don't disappoint our fans".

Philippe Coutinho and Neymar continue to be one of the most unsafe attacking players of the tournament. "Everything is fine. I am ready for the game", Dzagoev told reporters on Thursday at their training base on the outskirts of Moscow.

"People have seen that Russian Federation is a hospitable country, a friendly one for those who come here", he told a meeting with Fifa officials.

But arguably the biggest individual prize awarded is the Golden Ball, for best player at the tournament.

Brazil's meeting with Belgium should guarantee goals on Friday evening.

Bob Lenarduzzi is president of Vancouver Whitecaps FC. This Belgium squad seems top heavy and that imbalance could be exposed in this game.

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