Thierry Henry and Eden Hazard console emotional Neymar

07 July, 2018, 07:45 | Author: Eleanor Thompson
  • Romelo Lukaku leads Belgium with four goals so far in the tournament

Belgium manager Roberto Martinez has brought Nacer Chadli and Marouane Fellaini, who both scored as substitutes against Japan in the round of 16, into his starting line-up for the World Cup quarter-final against Brazil on Friday.

A Fernandinho own goal and a brilliant Kevin De Bruyne strike gave Belgium a spot in the last four for the second time after 1986 and sees Brazil eliminated in the quarterfinals for the third time in the last four World Cups.

Brazil pulled a goal back through Renato Augusto but it was too little, too late.

Man-of-the-match De Bruyne said his team had passed a "test of character" in the closing 15 minutes as Brazil peppered the goal but were unable to find an equaliser.

Brazil coach Tite has made two changes from the team that beat Mexico for the World Cup quarterfinal match against Belgium at Kazan Arena.

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The coach highlighted a number of reasons Belgium should fear his team - their speed on the counter-attack, ability to produce magic as well as a miserly defence that has conceded just a single goal in Russian Federation.

At that point, Brazil looked as if they might capitulate as they did in their astonishing 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany four years ago.

"But, Courtois, using every inch of his 6'5" frame, got just enough of Neymar's shot to deflect it over the bar, saving the game for Belgium and sending Brazil home.

From then on the game dragged until the referee blew his whistle to confirm Belgium's progression into the semi-finals, where they will play France.

Tite's assistant coach Cleber Xavier told Fifa.com: "When it's time to play we play, and when it's time to defend we defend; that's the balance in our game". We had to be fearless tactically and to do that in a World Cup, the players have to believe.

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

They paid an immediate price when Fernandinho nodded Eden Hazard's corner into his own net unpressured after 13 minutes.

Brazil nearly equalised immediately, Neymar dribbling down the left and finding Gabriel, only for his effort to go amiss.

Martínez abandoned the 3-4-2-1 he had used previously, deploying instead a 4-3-3 with Kevin De Bruyne as a false nine.

"The difference is we haven't won a World Cup, it's as simple as that. you go into a tournament when you don't have the know-how to win the tournament", Martinez said.

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"I think Neymar in the future will be the best in the world and I'm happy to be playing against him for the second time".

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