Monday, 24 September, 2018

Lukaku defends Brazil forward Neymar: He is not an actor

Watch: The best social media memes as fans troll Neymar roll Brazil beats Mexico to reach quarter-finals
Cassandra Gardner | 07 July, 2018, 01:14

Supporters of Russian Federation celebrate on the Red Square after their team's victory in the FIFA World Cup 2018 round of 16.

However, the clash of the fancied South Americans and Belgium's "Golden Generation" has given the most casual of analysts reason to feel smug that, at least, they got one thing right in their scenario plotting.

Inspired by Neymar brilliance and the wiles of Willian, Brazil sent a tough Mexico side packing with a 2-0 defeat that cemented Tite's side as favourites to claim a record-extending sixth World Cup trophy. It has fueled confidence inside the Belgium camp that it can deal with adversity and make the World Cup semifinals for the first time since 1986.

Manchester City star De Bruyne is yet to score at the World Cup but played a key part in Belgium's last-gasp victor against Japan in the round of 16, the Red Devils coming from two goals down to win 3-2.

The players remain trapped despite being reached this week by cave-diving rescuers, who released footage of them looking emaciated but calm, some wearing football shirts.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic is confident his side can handle the atmosphere as they take on hosts Russian Federation for a place in the World Cup semi-finals.

"I think Kevin De Bruyne's influence in our team has been a lot deeper; a little bit earlier, allowing his team to have the influence that we have in the final third and being a real playmaker for us".

Belgium's quarter-final battle with Brazil will be a classic encounter between an unstoppable force and an immovable object when the tournament's joint best defense comes up against its most free-scoring attack in Kazan on Friday.

Serena Williams beats Mladenovic to give notice that comeback title is on
In a match full of big swings, Keys led 5-2 in the first set before Rodina won the next nine games to go 4-0 up in the second. Stan Wawrinka also exited, losing to Italian qualifier Thomas Fabbiano 7-6 (7) 6-3 7-6 (6).


"Everything is open, up for grabs", he said.

The victor will bid for a place in the final against either France or Uruguay.

Belgium, meanwhile, are the tournament's top scorers, banging in 12 goals in their four games so far. Lukaku has four but seven of his teammates have scored, too. "I just want us to have as many and we'll see who wins".

"I have heard of that rumour, but we have a deal with Roberto Martinez, who is a gentleman", he told La Derniere Heure. One option could see Fernandinho come into the side for a role he is accustomed to playing at Manchester City.

Brazil forward Neymar has had 24 shots in Russian Federation, more than anyone else at the tournament. Neymar will have to be careful not to pick up another booking as he would miss a semifinal should Brazil prevail.

Their win over Mexico showed textbook defending from the central pairing of Thiago Silva and Miranda, assisted by full backs Fagner and Filipe Luis.

For Belgium, defender Jan Vertonghen and De Bruyne are carrying yellow cards as well.

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