Belgium beats Brazil 2-1 in quarterfinals

Yolanda Curtis
July 7, 2018

The Belgians struck early and then held off a late Brazil fightback to send the five-times champions tumbling out of the competition with a 2-1 victory in an end-to-end thriller on Friday.

Kevin De Bruyne, meanwhile, acknowledged that keeping up with Brazil at times in the second half was a struggle, but he saluted the Red Devils' character.

Kevin De Bruyne put Belgium up 2-0 by completing a counterattack led by Romelu Lukaku in the 31st minute. Three touches later, De Bruyne had the ball on his right foot with far too much sight of goal. Brazil's Fernandinho knocks the ball into the goal with his arm off a Belgium corner kick to give Belgium the lead on a Brazil own goal.

Once more, Brazil threatened in the 94th minute, but Courtois made a seemingly impossible save to tip Neymar's curling shot just over the crossbar.

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.

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The two other spots will be decided in Sunday's quarterfinals which feature Russian Federation vs. Croatia and England vs. Sweden.

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

It continues a wretched run for a lot of the traditional big names; Brazil join the likes of Argentina, Germany, Spain and Portugal on the World Cup scrapheap.

Neymar looking anguished during Brazil's World Cup quarter-finals match against Belgium. Brazil was offensively stronger, but in the end we all did it.

A draw could well be the way to go considering that Belgium are now 23 games unbeaten, with their only defeat under Roberto Martinez coming back in September.

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The coach said having Thierry Henry, who was in France's 1998 World Cup-winning squad, among his backroom staff has helped bridge that gap.

"It's incredible. This team wants to win every game, against England people said it was better to lose but we won the game, we have confidence in our team".

The introduction of Fellaini and Chadli in the 65th minute turned things around for Belgium as both substitutes found the net.

It was the first time Brazil had trailed in a game for over a year, and before the half was out, the first time they have conceded two in a game under Tite.

If defenders manage to stop Neymar without fouling him then he can not stay on the floor for too long, but when other players start provoking him he must do his part, which is normal.

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But reaching the last four looked an increasingly unlikely proposition. Coutinho lifted a cross into the area where Renato Augusto, who had just entered the game, glanced a soft header just past Courtois to make the game 2-1. "But it is a dream match for our players - they were born to play in a match like this".

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