Belgium send Brazil packing in Kazan classic

Belgium send Brazil packing in Kazan classic

Belgium send Brazil packing in Kazan classic

Belgium reached their first World Cup semi-final in 32 years after beating Brazil in a closely contested quarterfinal.

"The greatest challenge of a World Cup is having mental fortitude".

The second goal came from one such counter-attack, Lukaku driving through midfield, past Fernandinho, before laying the ball off for De Bruyne.

While Belgium's golden generation is finally flourishing, Neymar is leading Brazil home after failing to live up to the expectations that come with being soccer's most expensive player.

The core of that side remains in place in Russian Federation, where Belgium has won all four of its matches, including coming back from 2-0 down to beat Japan in the round of 16 with a thrilling counterattack in the final seconds of injury time.

Chelsea's Thibault Courtois pulled off a stunning last-minute save to deny Neymar but in the end it was hard to dispute Belgium's superiority, with De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku particularly impressive.

The loss marks the third time in four World Cups that Brazil has been eliminated in the quarterfinals.

"It's incredible. This team wants to win every game, against England people said it was better to lose but we won the game, we have confidence in our team".

They displayed some defensive frailties against Japan, but Martinez reorganised his team and they showed superb fighting spirit to get themselves back in the match.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said his side "deserve to be heroes" back home after downing five-time champions Brazil.

Tite's favourites are looking to reach the semi-finals of the tournament for the second time in succession, while the Red Devils are looking to go one further than their quarter-final exit in 2014.

With eight shutouts in the last nine games, including three in the four games in Russia, Brazil had the tightest defense of the remaining teams at the World Cup.

"Everything is open, up for grabs", he said.

Belgium and France will meet in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. But it was breached after 13 minutes in Tatarstan. Lukaku has four but seven of his teammates have scored, too. Belgium entered the tournament with one of the few squads that could come close to matching Brazil's quality man-for-man, and Tite's team hadn't really been tested - other than in a group stage draw with Switzerland - through its first four games Russian Federation. He is likely to be replaced by Fernandinho of Manchester City.

Neymar used Brazil's famed yellow jersey to shield his anguish.

Hazard missed a chance to wrap the tie up by firing wide from De Bruyne's pass, Courtois denying substitute Douglas Costa at the other end.

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