Belgium Bounce Brazil Out Of World Cup With 2-1 Quarterfinal Victory

Crucial replacement

Crucial replacement

Belgium ran out 2-1 winners against Brazil to end the Selecao's World Cup at the quarterfinal stage on Friday night, sending Neymar's side home from Russian Federation and putting Roberto Martinez's team into the semifinals.

Brazil started brighly before a corner kick took a deflection off Fernandinho to give Belgium the lead in the 13th minute.

Belgium went into half-time 2-0 up thanks to a Fernandinho own goal and De Bruyne's fierce strike, giving a Brazil side previously seen as World Cup favourites a mountain to climb.

Brazil pulled one back with just 17 minutes remaining through Renato Augusto but Belgium held on. Romelu Lukaku picked the ball up inside his own half and surged forward, past a handful of defenders, before the ball was knocked away but fell to De Bruyne to Lukaku's right.

Belgium booked a World Cup semi-final against France as Brazil's hopes of winning a sixth title were ended by a 2-1 defeat in Kazan.

De Bruyne easily ranks among the most talented players in the entire tournament―let alone Belgium's squad―but the midfielder hadn't been at his best for the Red Devils in a long time, dating all the way back to the loss against Wales at Euro 2016.

Belgium will next face France in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday as they look to reach the final for the first time in their history.

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"Now we need more energy for the next game, " Martinez said, "so let's make sure that we're all together and we're all driving each other to be as good as we the semifinal".

Hazard, for his part, captained Belgium as they overturned a 2-0 deficit against Japan, assisting the equalising goal.

At the 12-minute mark, Belgium would draw first blood on their first set piece. Individual talent is a big weapon of both teams, we rely on one-on-ones, being able to score, open-play football.

The current team has been tagged the "golden generation" in recent years, but had lost their last two major quarter-finals against Argentina four years ago and Wales at Euro 2016.

Neymar, who was criticized ahead of the game for having spent almost 14 minutes on the floor cumulatively in Brazil's first four games, flung himself down but was told to get back up.

This should be an exciting game to watch, as it'll pit Belgium's relentless offense against Brazil's impenetrable defense. "Brazil adapted better in the second half", he added.

Following Friday's action, the focus will then be firmly trained on England's World Cup quarter-final with Sweden on Saturday - the Three Lions' first appearance in the last eight since 2006.

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