Belgium stun Brazil to reach World Cup semis
Kazan Arena, July 7: A superb first half display by Belgium ended Brazil’s hopes of a record sixth World Cup crown as a Fernandinho own goal and a superb Kevin De Bruyne strike proved enough to win 2-1 and seal a semi-final spot.
Although Brazil roared back in the second half with a headed goal from Renato Augusto, it is the Belgians who will face France in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.
Unbeaten in their last 15 games, Brazil’s bid for a second consecutive place in the semi-finals looked in safe hands.
But after an energetic start that saw Thiago Silva come close and Neymar show early promise, Brazil heads went down following Fernandinho’s own goal before De Bruyne’s superb strike from distance put the Red Devils in control on 31 minutes.
Late changes by Brazil coach Tite paid off as Renato Augusto’s superb header 14 minutes from time dragged the south Americans back into contention.
But as Belgian legs tired, 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.
Courtois produced a great save in the dying minutes, tipping over a curling drive from Neymar as the Belgians ensured they will make just their second visit to the last four, 32 years after their surge to semis in Mexico.
Brazil coach bemoans bad luck against Belgium
Kazan Arena:Luck was not on Brazil’s side here in their 2-1 defeat to Belgium in a World Cup quarterfinal, the South Americans’ coach said afterward, even as he praised the performance of the Belgians.
“Randomness, accidents, they happen. And today they happened. It hurts to say that. That is not to undermine Belgium, who are a great team. But chance was cruel to us. It was so hard and it is very hard to accept,” Tite told reporters in Kazan on Friday after the match, Efe news reported.