Belgium's high scorers take on Brazil's miserly defence

Watch: The best social media memes as fans troll Neymar roll

He reiterated his stance in blunt terms ahead of Brazil's quarter-final against Belgium and sung Neymar's praises for the less-talked-about qualities he brings to the Selecao.

"Individually, Brazil are the strongest team in this World Cup", Kompany, who made the last of his worldwide appearances as a substitute in the 1-0 win over England, told reporters. 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.

He said: "It used to be in Belgian culture, and I think everyone would agree with me, we would feel defeated even before a game like this but all these players in our team, who play at clubs around the world, now believe 100 percent we can beat Brazil".

"We have been preparing for months, for weeks to play matches like that", said France coach Didier Deschamps.

"What they are saying about the theatrical and pathetic performance of English players?"

"I am more mature and have more experience than at the last World Cup, and the team is more consistent", insisted Willian, who appeared from the bench in the 7-1 semi-final humiliation against Germany in 2014.

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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.

"Everything is open, up for grabs", he said. Kompany says the only way to beat Brazil is to play as a team.

The victor will play France or Uruguay in the semifinals in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.

Though Brazil has yet to hit the heights on the attacking front, it and Uruguay have been the meanest defences in the competition, conceding just one goal apiece in four matches. One option could see Fernandinho come into the side for a role he is accustomed to playing at Manchester City.

On the flanks, Willian and Philippe Coutinho can stretch defenses, and fire in shots and crosses, while Neymar and Gabriel Jesus can also pull defenses apart from more central positions. "I am against all these opinions (on Neymar acting)".

De Bruyne impressed his national team manager for his strong personality and maturity, showing that he is a real leader on the pitch for Belgium, particularly in their last match against Japan.

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