Belgium produced a brilliant performance to knock five-time winners Brazil out of the World Cup and reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1986.
Belgium knocked off World Cup favorite Brazil 2-1 on Friday in the quarterfinals, moving on to the semifinals to face France. Kevin De Bruyne’s winner sets up what is guaranteed to be an all-European semifinal on both sides of the bracket.
The South Americans became the latest heavyweight to depart the competition after holders Germany and other past winners Argentina, Spain and Uruguay.
Though Brazil started well on the ball, Belgium’s poise and confidence shined through. The team was organized and able to keep the ball away from Brazil quite a bit before the opener. On 13 minutes
Brazil was confident coming back. Roberto Firmino came on for Willian, and the five-time champs threatened over and over again. They had 26 shots on the night, nine of them on target, but Courtois was out of this world, while also getting help in the first half from the post.
Before the game, Brazil had conceded just one goal in their past four games in Russia but were behind early when Nacer Chadli’s corner struck Fernandinho’s arm and flew into the net, the 10th own goal of this World Cup.
The result means all four World Cup semifinalists will be from Europe for the first time since 2006. But out of the remaining six teams, four have never won the World Cup (Belgium, Sweden, Russia and Croatia) while France and England have
Roberto Martinez’s side turned on the style in Kazan to clock up their fifth straight win of the tournament and ensure the semi-finals will be contested by four European sides for the first time.