Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Belgium beat Brazil 2-1, will play France in World Cup semifinal

Belgium beat Brazil 2-1, will play France in World Cup semifinal

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Martinez's switch to a 3-4-3 was a masterstroke, but De Bruyne's man-of-the-match award did not come for nothing.

The Chelsea winger showcased his individual skill numerous times against Brazil, especially with a mesmerising dribble from wide in the second half, and the statistics showed that all 10 of his dribbles in the game ended with his team still in possession.

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Belgium now progress onto the semi-finals of the tournament where they will face France, and the victor will face one of England, Sweden, Croatia and Russian Federation in the final.

Hazard missed a chance to wrap the tie up by firing wide from De Bruyne's pass, Courtois denying substitute Douglas Costa at the other end. "But we have to maintain our same way of playing, getting better every game, and that is what we will take into this match". "Brazil are an incredible team, but there is not one day I go to bed thinking 'What if we lose?'"

Another reunion to look forward to is that between Thomas Meunier and Neymar. And in truth, position for position, Brazil was really only superior at right- and left-back. I know him very well and he can be very risky. "He's very unpredictable", said the Belgian. It's what he had switched clubs for, trading the security of a Barcelona jersey for the gamble of Paris Saint-Germain, believing that if he was ever to be the World Player of the Year, he'd have to do it away from the Nou Camp. I'll do my best.

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A 55th-minute strong penalty appeal by Brazil was waved off by Serbian referee Milorad Mazic.

Vincent Kompany tried to flick on Eden Hazard's left-wing delivery but the decisive touch came from his Manchester City team-mate Fernandinho, who was deputising for Casemiro and turned the ball past Alisson via his arm. The two formed an instant connection on and off the pitch. "This was very hard for us to swallow‚" he said. That sustained pressure eventually led to Brazil's goal and they raised their game, winning the balls and passing more accurately. The keeper will have some advice to give to Courtois on the positioning and movements of Liverpool colleague Roberto Firmino. Courtois also saved well from a curling Philippe Coutinho strike. And in the lead-up to the big game, Coutinho's former Liverpool team-mate Christian Benteke, who failed to make Martinez's 23-man squad, has been doing his bit to stir the pot on Twitter.

Brazil got a glimmer of hope in the 76th minute when Coutinho, Brazil's best player in Russian Federation, delivered a ideal cross to substitute Renato Augusto, who made most use of the space given to him and headed the ball inside the net.

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