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2 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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ROAD TO quarterfINALS

Mamunul dubs Brazil, Belgium favourites

Brazil are clear favourites against Mexico as some individual skills will eventually make the difference in favour of the five-time champions today, says Bangladesh national football team captain Mamunul Islam. He also puts Belgium as favourites against Japan in the second match of the day.
M Anwar Ullah

The Bangladesh national football team captain, Mamunul Islam, could not hide his excitement about the possibility of seeing magical skills in the knockout match between Brazil and Mexico in FIFA World Cup 2018. “The two Latin American teams have a similar style. But Brazil are clear favourites against Mexico in the first match in the knockout phase. Some individual skills will eventually make all the difference in favour of the five-time champions,” he said. “Belgium will play as favourites against Japan in the second knockout match,” he added.

Mamunul shared his thoughts with The Independent yesterday about the favourites in the first two quarter-final matches. “After their struggle in the first match (1-1 draw with Switzerland), Brazil did not falter and eventually confirmed their place in the knockout phase. Brazilian players improved their performances every match to defeat

Costa Rica and Serbia,” he said. “Both Brazil and Mexico are from the Latin American region. But if we look at individual skills, Brazil have plenty of performers who can change the scenario of any match at any time. You will not get so many class entertainers in the Mexico team,” he explained.

“Brazil have a long list of match-winners like Neymar, Jesus, Coutinho, Firmino, Marcelo, Paulinho, Willian, Filipe Luis and D. Costa. Every one of them can change the complexion of a game single-handedly,” he said.

“So, Brazil will be always ahead of Mexico,” he added.

BELGIUM-JAPAN

About the match between Belgium and Japan, Mamunul said that Belgium will take the field as favourites. “There are differences between Belgium and Japan in terms of football history and World Cup background.”

“Belgium have landed in Russia with a strong side. They have won every match in their group. Their morale is very high at present,” he added.

“It’ll very tough for Japan to overcome the Belgian challenge,” he noted.

“A lot of Belgian players now play in the world’s top leagues like the English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesligue and Serie A. The collective talent of Lukaku, E Hazard, Boyat and Carrasco are enough to destroy any defense in the world. I believe that Belgium will really do something amazing in this world cup,” he said.

“But Japan doesn’t have a top-class performer and there is no possibility of an upset,” he predicted.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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