- Belgium turned in a powerful performance in Kazan on Friday night to dump favourites Brazil out of the World Cup.
Following France’s defeat of Uruguay in Friday’s earlier quarter-final clash, Belgium made it a European double by seeing off the challenge of the Selecao with a 2-1 victory.
A frantic opening suggested that an early goal was likely – and so it proved when Fernandinho diverted a header into his own net with less than fifteen minutes on the clock. The Manchester City midfielder, chosen ahead of Casemiro for this clash, didn’t have the best off outings in the yellow shirt and the own goal just about summed up his whole evening.
One became two just after the half-hour mark as Kevin De Bruyne unleashed a fine strike from outside the box after some brilliant buildup play from Romelu Lukaku – and from there, it really looked as though there would be only one winner.
Brazil, though, came out of the tunnel in the second half with a renewed sense of purpose, and began probing the Belgian defence in search of a way back into the game. Roberto Firmino and Douglas Costa were introduced to provide fresh impetus into proceedings, but it was to be third substitute Renato Augusto that would leave a bigger mark on the game.
The Beijing Guoan midfielder met Philippe Coutinho’s ball into the box to head past Thibaut Courtois to narrow the deficit with fifteen minutes remaining, before spurning a decent opportunity to level it up not long after.
Brazil huffed and puffed in the closing stages but it wasn’t to be for Tite’s men – Brazil suffer a World Cup exit almost as heartbreaking as the 7-1 thrashing by Germany four years ago, but this night belongs to Roberto Martinez and Belgium.
France, and a battle for a place in the 2018 World Cup final, awaits.
— FIFA World Cup ? (@FIFAWorldCup) July 6, 2018
— Ruud Gullit (@GullitR) July 6, 2018
Gadget arms from Courtois! What a brilliant game #BELBRA
— Lynsey Hipgrave (@lynseyhipgrave1) July 6, 2018
Brazil go out despite spirited attempt to save themselves in the second half. Four years ago, their defence crumbled. Here, the attack just couldn’t convert the chances. 2-0.
— emmet malone (@emmetmalone) July 6, 2018
Six teams left. All European.
— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) July 6, 2018
— David Conn (@david_conn) July 6, 2018
We’ve been waiting for Belgium to become a team because its amazing individualities, today we have enjoyed one of the best performances and they are a big candidates to win this World Cup !! Belgium 2 vs Brazil 1
— Luis Garcia (@LuchoGarcia14) July 6, 2018