Darkhorses Belgium beat five-time champion Brazil in the second quarterfinal to advance to the semifinal stage. A Kevin De Bruyne rocket and an own goal from Fernandinho proved too high a mountain to climb as Brazil crashed out of the tournament in an unconvincing fashion. Blistering pace upfront for Belgium from Lukaku, Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne caught the Brazilian defense off guard many a times as Brazil were finding it hard to cope to high octane counter attacking style of play. Lukaku and Hazard were wrecking havoc in the Brazilian backline as Kevin De Bruyne played the false nine role to utmost perfection.
This defeat brought an end to the South American competition in the World Cup as Uruguay lost to France earlier in the first quarterfinal. Astonishingly, all that remain in the world cup are European teams. All African, Asian, Oceanic, American teams (both Central and South) have bowed out of the tournament. Belgium keeper Thibaut Courtois was at his clinical best pulling out unbelievable saves in numerous occasions. His save in the dying moments of the game to keep out Neymar’s shot was off the highest quality. This victory for Belgium means they will play in the semifinals for just the second time in their country’s history and for the first time since 1986. A Golden generation for Belgium and for the Belgian players indeed.
Brazil started off well in the first half as they almost scored only to be denied by the crossbar but sooner than later Belgium gained confidence and balance and looked more threatening on the counter attack. They took the lead in the 13th minute through an own goal when a desperate attempt by Fernandinho to head the ball clear ended up going in the wrong direction. Belgium doubled their lead through Kevin De Bruyne who blasted a shot into the corner of the net from outside the box leaving Brazilian keeper no chance whatsoever to try and save that from going in. Much of credit goes to Lukaku for carrying the ball from his own half to spark an amazing counter attack to assist Kevin for the second goal. Second half substitute Renato Augusto pulled one back for Brazil but it was a little too late as Brazil ran out of time to find an equalizer. Brazil have been eliminated by European nations in each of the last four world cups (France 2006, Netherlands 2010, Germany 2014, Belgium 2018). This result sets up a mouth watering clash for the semifinals as France will play Belgium for a place in the world cup finals.
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Read also :
FIFA World Cup 2018: Previewing the Quarterfinal match-ups and beyond (Part 2)
FIFA World Cup 2018: France move to Semis, as Cavani-less Uruguay falter