Roberto Martinez led his Belgium team through another training session on Wednesday as they geared up for what many of them will consider to be the biggest game of their international careers.
Kevin De Bruyne, Marouane Fellaini and Thibaut Courtois were all pictured during the latest session at their World Cup base at the Guchkovo Stadium, located on the outskirts of Russia’s capital, Moscow.
It is likely to be their penultimate training session before they travel to Kazan for their World Cup quarter-final clash with Brazil, which kicks off on Friday evening.
For the first time in the tournament, Martinez’s side go into the game as the clear underdogs. Five-time champions Brazil are now the stand-out favourites to claim a sixth title this summer.
But that may be a more comfortable position to be in for Belgium, who appeared to struggle with the pressure of being favourites in their round-of-16 clash against Japan.
They looked set to go home after conceding two goals in quick succession early in the first half, but they showed the will of champions to come back to win 3-2 with Nacer Chadli scoring the winner with the last kick of the game.
It was certainly a lucky escape for a side tipped to be among the contenders for this year’s World Cup and the performance would have given Martinez plenty to work on in their training sessions this week.
While Japan deserved every plaudit they got for their performance against Belgium, Brazil are unlikely to be as forgiving should they also take a two-goal lead in Friday’s match at the Kazan Arena.
Indeed, Neymar’s team have conceded just one goal at the World Cup so far, scoring seven at the other end in the process. While Belgium will be their toughest prospect yet, Brazil have certainly showed the potential to go all the way in Russia.
But the winners of this tie are likely to face an equally stern test with Uruguay or France fighting it out earlier on Friday.