Belgium advances to World Cup semifinals, beats Brazil 2-1

Belgium stunned Brazil 2-0 in a highly entertaining FIFA World Cup quarter-final clash in Kazan on Friday.

The Manchester United striker, who has scored four goals at this summer's World Cup finals, dribbled from deep in his own half, driving forward with pace, power and objective, before picking out De Bruyne. It was game on.

With his confidence high, the 25-year-old has proved to be an inspirational presence for the other Red Devils that he represents.

Brazil came back again and finally replied when Augusto guided home a header from Coutinho's expertly-floated cross.

Lukaku's coach Roberto Martinez highlighted Neymar's ability in one-on-one situations as something his team will have to pay close attention to, but he feels Belgium also have plenty of "individual talent" to cause significant problems. Not only has Belgium not won any of its games against South American teams in the knockout stages, it hasn't even managed to score a goal.

A minute later it was the Brazilians who were on defensive duties, because of speedster Lukaku, who with a speed of light, tore away from his marker but Fellaini failed to make it count in the final third.

Brazil's Neymar reacts during the quarterfinal match between Brazil and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kazan Arena, in Kazan, Russia, Friday, July 6, 2018.

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.

Five-time world champion Brazil came into Friday's quarterfinal match at Russian Federation 2018 as the clear favorite to beat the Red Devils and reach next week's semifinal versus France, which had dispatched Uruguay hours earlier.

That 3-2 victory over Japan was the first time a team has overcome a two-goal deficit to win outright since West Germany beat England in 1970, and the first to do it in regulation since Portugal came from three down to beat North Korea in 1966.

Belgium made them rue the miss as they took the lead from a corner of their own after 13 minutes, although they did enjoy some good fortune.

"Only a few times in your lifetime [can you come to a World Cup], you might go to two or three in a lifetime if you're lucky".

A minute later De Bruyne found Lukaku in acres of space, the big striker coolly nutmegging Miranda before seeing the ball frantically cleared into the stands.

For Belgium, Eden Hazard has hit the peak form just on time while Romelu Lukaku, although wasteful in the previous match, is regularly scoring for his side.

One player conspicuous by his absence for much of the first half was Neymar.

  • Stacy Allen