Belgium use daring and intelligence to outwit Brazil in thriller

Sergio Cunningham
July 7, 2018

A Fernandinho own goal and a brilliant Kevin De Bruyne strike gave Belgium a spot in the last four for the second time after 1986 and sees Brazil eliminated in the quarterfinals for the third time in the last four World Cups. Thibaut Courtois palmed away a goal-bound Gabriel Jesus header on 36 minutes before stopping a curling Philippe Coutinho shot that was headed for the back of the net. Brazil won 2-0 through second-half goals from Rivaldo and Ronaldo and went on to win the tournament.

"We've achieved something that is really handsome", said Kevin De Bruyne, who scored Belgium's second goal, "and it's not easy".

Dubbed as a "golden generation", a talented Belgium squad will be keen to re-create history while perennial title contenders Brazil will aim to avoid yet another upset when the two teams meet in the quarter-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Friday.

Kevin De Bruyne scores a shocking second goal for Belgium off the counter attack.

At that point, Brazil looked as if they might capitulate as they did in their astonishing 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany four years ago.

But as Belgian legs exhausted, Brazil spurned several great chances to push the match into extra-time, Augusto drilling inches wide and Coutinho skewing his effort off target from Neymar's pass.

Belgium will face France in the semifinals on Tuesday in St. Petersburg. "But now it is time for each of us to defend our corner and I hope to come out on top", Willian said.

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Fortunately for the Selecao, Belgium has a poor record against South American sides at the World Cup.

Belgium then scored from their first corner of the game in the 13th minute.

Now we are down to the last eight teams, what's shaping up to be one of the most memorable World Cups in recent memory is very much at the business end. It's personal redemption for the Manchester City man but also shows how several players in this team have matured in the last few years.

Another World Cup, another failure for Brazil. There was the penalty shout that fell on deaf ears after striker Gabriel Jesus - who went scoreless in Russian Federation - was taken down by Vincent Kompany 10 minutes into the second half.

In the previous five outings against Brazil, Belgium has managed just one win but the sixth clash between the two footballing giants can end up with a different scoreline and Belgium has all the potential to do so.

He recovered and was available for the 2-0 win against Mexico in the round of 16, but coach Tite kept his replacement, Fagner, in the starting lineup.

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