Belgium holds off Brazil’s comeback effort to reach World Cup semifinals

08 Juillet, 2018, 14:18 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Belgium holds off Brazil’s comeback effort to reach World Cup semifinals

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. Fernandinho's trailing arm inadvertently helped Belgium captain Vincent Kompany's header land in his own net in the 13th.

Tite, who said it was not an appropriate time to discuss his future as Brazil coach, felt the difference in the match had been Belgium's finishing.

Coutinho - who had been Brazil's best attacking player in this World Cup so far - had a golden chance to equalize the game in the 84th minute.

Belgium, which last reached the semifinals in 1986, will next face 1998 champion France in St. Petersburg. They won their only World Cup in 1998 on home soil, and in 2006 lost to Italy on penalties.

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Brazil threw everything at Belgium in the second half and finally found a way past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois with a Renato Augusto header in the 76th minute.

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Brazil were almost back on level terms twice soon after, but Augusto fired his shot from just outside the area wide of goal before Coutinho skied a shot from Neymar's laid-off pass well over the bar. The other two quarterfinal matches will be played Sunday.

A furious opening 10 minutes saw Thiago Silva clatter a close-range strike off the post and Nacer Chadli blaze a fine shot just wide of goal for Belgium.

It was a attractive counter-attack finished in sublime fashion by De Bruyne, shortly after the half hour mark, leaving Brazil facing a challenge that no side had overcome in World Cup history - winning a game after trailing by two at half-time, excluding penalties.

Meanwhile, Manchester City's De Bruyne warned Belgium not to get carried away and said they had achieved nothing yet.

Belgium will be without defender Thomas Meunier for the semifinals after tripping Neymar and earning a second yellow card of the tournament.

"I won't say goodbye, but I also won't confirm that I'll be there for the next World Cup".

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