Five time winners Brazil are among the automatic favourites of the tournament in Russia.
Unlike other heavyweights like Germany and Argentina who are no longer in the competition, the Selecao have made great strides since an unexpected 1-1 draw against Switzerland in their group opener.
Costa Rica, Serbia and Mexico have fallen as casualties, each receiving a two-goal correction from Neymar and Co.
Facing a star-studded Belgian side, with creative players such as Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne, could prove daunting for Brazil, but at the same time, it’s a mandatory challenge they need to surmount in order to progress.
Talent, character and solidarity might not be enough to subdue the Red Devils.
Head coach Tite needs to follow every bit of the game, with eyes and mind on the same frequency, in order to dispense the instructions and substitutions that could make the difference in their favour at the blast of the final whistle.
Belgium national team is composed of some of the best players in European top leagues. But, they are not widely seen as favourites for the title, although a number of pundits have tagged them as underdogs.
Playing Brazil is an opportunity to prove their worth, claim the bragging rights and earn an improved status as a football nation.
However, with Belgium captain Vincent Kompany acknowledging the threat Brazil’s individuality poses, it is quite clear his team is aware of the battle ahead.
The Brazilians’ unpredictability, mostly up field, could be another huge task for the Europeans, who must stay alert across the duration of the game to hold off the South Americans.
Expect a fluid, physical and breathtaking cracker that could be rich in goals, and perhaps some incidents – a penalty from Neymar’s fall?