A hammering in Brussels, Ronaldo, Rivaldo and a brief history of Brazil vs Belgium

     Ronaldo - Brazil-Belgium - 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea and Japan
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Historical results between the two nations bode well for the Selecao ahead of their quarter-final, but the first meeting brought quite the shock

A 2-0 victory over Mexico last week saw Brazil progress to the World Cup quarter-finals, where they will meet a talented Belgium side out to make history.

After a slow start, Tite’s side have shown improvement in every match so far and ahead of their biggest test of the tournament so far, can rest assured that the history of Friday’s clash bodes well.

In four previous meetings against Belgium, the Selecao have tasted defeat just once.

Only one of those matches arrived at a World Cup. Back in 2002, Luiz Felipe Scolari’s eventual world champions claimed a 2-0 win in Kobe thanks to second-half goals from Ronaldo and Rivaldo.

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Goalkeeper Dida was called into action on a number of occasions before Rivaldo opened the scoring with a fabulous strike from edge of the box on 67 minutes. Ronaldo secured the win with a neat finish with just three minutes remaining.

Brazil and Belgium first met back in 1963, when the then two-time world champions travelled to Brussels and suffered a 5-1 defeat at the hands of the hosts. Pele was absent after suffering from some heavy-handed Portugal defending in a 1-0 defeat three days earlier, and the Selecao were heavily criticised back home after a defeat that also saw the Belgium side comparted to Hungary’s Mighty Magyars.

Brazil took revenge two years later at the Maracana, however, when Pele hit a hat-trick to inspire his side to a 5-0 win.

The only other meeting between the two teams came in 1988 when two goals from Geovani gave the Selecao a 2-1 win in Antwerp.

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On Friday the two teams do battle again in what could be perhaps the best game of the tournament so far, with Belgium’s golden generation out in search of their first World Cup semi-final since 1986.

Tite’s Brazil, meanwhile, arrive as tournament favourites following a competition that has already said goodbye to so many of the game’s traditional powerhouses.