Belgium hold off Brazil fightback

Belgium hold off Brazil fightback

Five-time champions Brazil were aiming for their sixth World Cup championship but their 2018 campaign came to a disappointing end as Belgium stunned the Seleção out of the 2018 Russia World Cup with a hard-fought 2-1 victory on Friday, July 6th.

Fernandinho opened the scoring with an own-goal and Kevin De Bruyne doubled the lead in the first half. The Real Madrid man was sorely missed as Fernandinho struggled to hold back Belgium's fearsome, relentless attack.

Everything simply fell into place as Courtois showed just how good a goalkeeper he is, while the Red Devils enjoyed crucial bits of luck in key moments. Fernandinho's trailing arm inadvertently helped Belgium captain Vincent Kompany's header land in his own net in the 13th.

"There has been so much debate about Neymar simulating fouls or wasting time on the floor, but I think that in a competition like this - with VAR - we shouldn't be paying too much attention to this", Betfair ambassador and 2002 World Cup victor, Rivaldo said.

Up next for Roberto Martinez's side will be a highly anticipated semifinal matchup with their southern neighbors, France, the last remaining pre-tournament favorite still breathing. The other semifinal will be played on Wednesday between the winners of England-Sweden and Croatia-Russia.

Ther bad news for Brazil is that they have been knocked out of the World Cup by European sides in the last three editions.

It continues a wretched run for a lot of the traditional big names; Brazil join the likes of Argentina, Germany, Spain and Portugal on the World Cup scrapheap.

Brazil were dumped out of the World Cup following a very impressive first-half display by Roberto Martinez's side.

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"Randomness happened and it was cruel to us", Brazil coach Tite said.

Brazil right back Danilo is out of the World Cup after injuring his ankle in training.

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".

Hazard, for his part, captained Belgium as they overturned a 2-0 deficit against Japan, assisting the equalising goal. But the defense was breached after 13 minutes in Tatarstan.

Though Brazil has yet to hit the heights on the attacking front, it and Uruguay have been the meanest defences in the competition, conceding just one goal apiece in four matches.

Not when Courtois was proving to be an impenetrable barrier in the Belgium goal, denying Marcelo's strike before the lead was extended.

Ederson will continue on the Brazil bench as the second-choice behind Roma's Alisson, while Danilo will also be an option in reserve. But as the referee started to seek a video review, Neymar appeared to urge against it.

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