Sports

Belgium burst Brazil bubbles into World Cup semis

Belgium burst Brazil bubbles into World Cup semis

The first real test for either team, Belgium to scare Brazil and take them nearly all the way before Brazil nick it in extra time.

And De Bruyne feels Brazil's inability to properly adapt to Belgium's tactics ultimately cost them. "When you play you have to get a tactical advantage". It's going to give you pleasure. "I hope everyone in Belgium is really proud". It has created a nice memory and we should treasure it.

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. Neymar beat his man to the endline and cut back inside before laying the ball back for the late-arriving Barcelona man, but Coutinho got his first-time effort all wrong and Belgium again went unpunished.

But reaching the last four looked an increasingly unlikely proposition.

Brazil could have scored twice in the first few minutes as Thiago Silva bundled the ball awkwardly against the post from a corner and Paulinho mishit a shot from close range.

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They were drawn against five time World Cup winners Brazil in a highly anticipated game, a game which would have been worthy of the final itself.

Such a record is nothing new for Brazil, with their defence having always been one of their keys to success at World Cups.

Brazil nearly equalised immediately, Neymar dribbling down the left and finding Gabriel, only for his effort to go amiss. Wilmots was satisfied. The Red Devils were summarily bounced in their next game, losing 1-0 to Argentina.

On 21 minutes De Bruyne set up Hazard on a free run inside to set up Thomas Meunier, only for Miranda to block his intended cross for Lukaku. Lukaku dropped into midfield and fed de Bruyne, who smashed home an unstoppable strike from the edge of the penalty area.

Superb control from Marcelo saw the Real Madrid defender chest down, cut inside and unleash a low drive that Courtois did well to block.

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De Bruyne advanced on the exposed Marcelo and arrowed a wonderful drive across Alisson from the edge of the penalty area after Lukaku collected the ball, turned and embarked on a 40-yard rampaging run with a ideal pass at the end to free the playmaker.

Kazan has many older and more impressive monuments, not least the Annunciation Cathedral and Qolsharif Mosque that tower above the river in the Kremlin, but sport has a special place in the life of the city.

This is a story not just about Number 10s but about Brazil's Number 12 - their fans in the stands.

Jesus appeared to be fouled by Vincent Kompany but the video referee dismissed Brazilian appeals for a penalty.

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