Philippine Daily Inquirer

Brazil must stop Eu­ro­pean teams

Beat­ing a Eu­ro­pean team in the KO stages for the first time in 16 years could be key for Brazil­ians to win­ning the World Cup

- —STORYBYAP Sports · Soccer · FIFA World Cup · Brazil · Brazil national football team · Kazan · Belgium national football team · Belgium · Germany national football team · Germany · Russia · Russia national football team · France · France national football team · Netherlands · Argentina national football team · Argentina · Japan · Japan national football team · Thibaut Courtois · Kevin De Bruyne · Eden Hazard · Romelu Lukaku · Championship · England national football team · England

KAZAN, RUS­SIA— To get past Bel­gium in the quar­ter­fi­nals at the World Cup, Brazil has to do some­thing it has not been able to do since it last won the tour­na­ment in 2002: Over­come Eu­ro­pean op­po­si­tion in the knock­out stages. Since beat­ing Ger­many, 2-0, in the 2002 World Cup fi­nal, the five-time win­ner has been elim­i­nated by Eu­ro­pean sides in the three sub­se­quent com­pe­ti­tions.

KAZAN, Rus­sia—To get past Bel­gium in the quar­ter­fi­nals at the World Cup, Brazil has to do some­thing it has not been able to do since it last won the tour­na­ment in 2002: over­come Eu­ro­pean op­po­si­tion in the knock­out stages.

Since beat­ing Ger­many 2-0 in the 2002 World Cup fi­nal, the five-time win­ner has been elim­i­nated by Eu­ro­pean sides in the three sub­se­quent com­pe­ti­tions. Brazil lost to France and the Nether­lands in the quar­ter­fi­nals of the 2006 and 2010 World Cups and was hu­mil­i­ated, 7-1, by Ger­many in the semi­fi­nals four years ago at home.

For­tu­nately for the Sele­cao, Bel­gium has a poor record against South Amer­i­can sides at the World Cup.

Not only has Bel­gium not won any of its games against South Amer­i­can teams in the knock­out stages, it hasn’t even man­aged to score a goal. Most re­cently, Bel­gium lost 1-0 to Ar­gentina in the 2014 quar­ter­fi­nals.

The core of that side re­mains in place in Rus­sia, where Bel­gium has won all four of its matches, in­clud­ing com­ing back from 2-0 down to beat Ja­pan in the round of 16 with a thrilling coun­ter­at­tack in the fi­nal sec- onds of in­jury time.

Ev­ery­one knew about the ar­ray of tal­ent run­ning through the Bel­gium side, from Thibaut Cour­tois in goal to Kevin De Bruyne in mid­field and Eden Haz­ard and Romelu Lukaku up front.

The main ques­tions fol­low­ing dis­ap­point­ing de­feats in the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Eu­ro­pean Cham­pi­onship cen­tered on the team’s char­ac­ter.

That 3-2 vic­tory over Ja­pan was the first time a team has over­come a two-goal deficit to win out­right since West Ger­many beat Eng­land in 1970.

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 ?? —AP ?? Brazil­ian play­ers lim­ber up be­fore start of prac­tice.
—AP Brazil­ian play­ers lim­ber up be­fore start of prac­tice.

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