Belgium urged German referee Felix Brych to protect star winger Eden Hazard when they face Russia at the Maracana on Sunday.
Hazard was fouled five times in Belgium's opening match of the FIFA World Cup against Algeria, as the Africans attempted to hold on under intense pressure from Marc Wilmots' men.
In one of the slower matches in Brazil so far, Belgium had to come from behind to win 2-1 over Algeria, who sat deep in an attempt to thwart the Europeans' passing game, but Belgian pair Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele hope they are given space to play against Russia.
The duo hope Brych, who will referee the Group H match, will protect Hazard and Belgium's other playmakers from any heavy-handed Russian tactics.
"Everybody knows Eden is an unbelievable talent and we also know he is going to get kicked," Dembele told the Daily Mail.
"I hope the referees protect him a bit."
As a defender, Vertonghen can understand why Russia's back four might be tempted to foul Hazard, who scored 14 goals in 35 Premier League appearances for Chelsea last season.
"Eden is the kind of player who is going to get kicked and, if I was a right-back, I think maybe I would do the same," the 27-year-old said.
"He is a player who can be very dangerous."
A win for Belgium will ensure they reach the round of 16 in their first World Cup since 2002.comments