Belgium beat Brazil to enter semi-finals

Ross Houston
July 8, 2018

But the Selecao were undone by Belgium in the quarter-finals as an own-goal from Fernandinho and a Kevin De Bruyne strike rendered Renato Augusto's second-half strike no more than a consolation.

As for Roberto Martinez's side, they just needed to produce more of the same in the second half. While Kompany headed a corner kick on, it deflected into Brazil's net off Fernandinho's shoulder for an own-goal.

Four years ago, as World Cup hosts, Brazil were humiliated 7-1 by eventual winners Germany at the semi-final stage with Neymar absent through injury.

Up next for Belgium in the last four is Didier Deschamps' France, and De Bruyne is ready to grasp a rare opportunity for his country.

"Brazil have so much finesse and you know that they can cut you open".

Tite's favourites are looking to reach the semi-finals of the tournament for the second time in succession, while the Red Devils are looking to go one further than their quarter-final exit in 2014.

"It was a test of character, and I think we did really well", said De Bruyne, who started on the right side of a three-pronged attack alongside centre-forward Romelu Lukaku and playmaker Eden Hazard. Willian assisted Brazil's opener and put on a great all-round showing against Mexico, helping the South Americans to an impressive 2-0 win.

Now in their prime, this group of players is unlikely to get a better opportunity to win a major worldwide tournament than over the course of the next week, with France to come in the last four on Tuesday. He can, therefore, expect to come up against not only Hazard but also Thibaut Courtois who will nearly certainly man the posts for Belgium.

De Bruyne advanced on the exposed Marcelo and arrowed a wonderful drive across Alisson from the edge of the penalty area after Lukaku collected the ball, turned and embarked on a 40-yard rampaging run with a ideal pass at the end to free the playmaker.

The loss marks the third time in four World Cups that Brazil has been eliminated in the quarterfinals.

The star forward now sitting in no man's land - demanding a trade from the Spurs while locked into his contract for at least one more season (he can opt out after the 2018-19 season) - started physically distancing himself from the team much earlier this year.

Coutinho's first-time shot flew wide and yet another Neymar penalty appeal was rejected, before the world's most expensive player drew a phenomenal fingertip save from Courtois in the 94th minute.

Brazil had chances to get back into the game, notably in the 37th minute when a curling shot from outside the area from Philippe Coutinho was palmed away by Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

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