Hazard aiming for stellar display


Chelsea’s Player of the Year has not quite yet starred for his country according to his high standards as Belgium topped Group H with three wins out of three to book their Last 16 berth in Brazil.

Yet Hazard is hoping to peak now that his side have reached crunch-time in Brazil.

"I think that each match I've given my maximum,” he told reporters.

“Since the start of the World Cup I haven't had a great match with good moves.

"I haven't had a good match with good moves that could be decisive for our team. So I hope I can do that and have a good match.

"I would really like it if I can get around the pitch more and see more of the ball - and make a difference, basically."

With two of the six Last 16 clashes having gone to penalties, Hazard knows that spot-kicks may be a possibility in tonight’s match-up with the Stars and Stripes, and Hazard said he would not mind taking one – as long as he is the last penalty-kick taker.

"I hope it doesn't happen, because we'll all feel the pressure,” said the 23-year-old. “But if we have to take them, I prefer to go last.”

Hazard knows one small error could be costly at this stage of the competition as he acknowledged the pressure of playing in the knockout stages at his first-ever Mundial.

"In qualifying it's easier because you have more matches,” said the midfielder. “Now we've arrived at the stage where if you lose, you're out.

“It's multiplied by ten. One mistake and that could be it."

Kick-off between the USA and Belgium in Salvador is at 10pm South African time.


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