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Belgium holds off late surge from Brazil to advance to World Cup semifinals


The most anticipated game of the World Cup lived up to the hype.

Belgium advanced to its first World Cup semifinal since 1986, as it survived a 2-1 thriller against Brazil in Kazan.

An own goal by Fernandinho and a wonderful strike from Kevin De Bruyne powered Roberto Martinez’s men into a semifinal showdown with France.

Belgium got on the board in the 13th minute, when Vincent Kompany’s header off a Nacer Chadli corner kick glanced off Fernandinho and past Alisson.

The second goal from the Red Devils came 18 minutes later off yet another brilliant Belgium counter. De Bruyne blasted a shot from outside the box into the bottom-left corner to open up the advantage to two goals.

Brazil mounted the pressure in the final third throughout the second half, and it finally received a breakthrough in the 76th minute, when Renato Augusto headed home a beautiful chip from Philippe Coutinho.

However, that would be all the Selecao could muster, as Augusto and Coutinho missed golden opportunities to equalize in the final 15 minutes.

Belgium’s quest to cash in on its golden generation of talent and win a World Cup continues Tuesday in St.Petersburg.

Man of the Match

Thibaut Courtois turned in a terrific performance in net by denying seven shots from a threatening Brazilian attack.

Moment of the Match

Belgium’s counter that led to De Bruyne’s goal was incredible, but Courtois’ last-minute save in stoppage time was the most important play of the contest for Belgium.

Match to Forget

Neymar leaves the tournament with two goals and a damaged reputation due to his diving antics.


  1. Belgium was my pick going in and they still look good. Plus, they are lucky. The first goal against Japan that began their comeback was really lucky, more lucky than good and it probably gave this team the belief that they are a team of destiny. It looks like
    England is likely to win the other half of the draw, setting up a final with either France or Belgium. The Belgium vs. France game could determine the winner as I think both are quite capable of beating England, although it will be a tough game.

    • Ha yeah you are right about that header. Vertongen could try that 2,000 times on an empty practice field and never place it so perfectly again. But even the best teams need a slice of luck sometimes

  2. European Championship in all but name, 6 teams remaining, all 6 from Europe…with a couple of South American sides in the 1/4 final for political correctness…

    Nothing new, European football teams continue to dominate the beautiful game.

  3. Brazil was incredibly overrated at this tournament to the point where I didn’t even know if people were watching the same games I was. So many people touted their defense but they never faced a world class side until today to really get a sense of where their defense really stood. The only game I was ever impressed with was their game against Serbia. In every other game Brazil just seemed sloppy and disorganized.

    • Belgium had to hold their breaths and hold on to that victory. Props to Belgium but lets not act like Belgium dominated Brazil. Belgium countered perfectly and played great defense

      • Never said they dominated. But Brazil wasn’t as invincible as people made them out to be. The dude’s on ESPN were saying that Brazil had the world’s best defense a few days ago. Not sure how they even came to that conclusion without Brazil playing against a world class team first.

    • I was definitely in agreement with you about Brazil, JCC. I think the media was hard up for a bonafide favorite for the knockout rounds and the old front-runners started looking really appealing coming out of the group stage. While Brazil played well, not once did I look at them and think there wasn’t a team in the knockout round that couldn’t take them down on their day.

      Today was Belgium’s day. If not for them, I think France and /or Uruguay would have knocked them off.

    • Brazil was 17-1-3 since Copa America Centenario, that’s one loss in a friendly against Argentina played in Australia in two years. They had given up 5 goals in those 21 matches and never more than one goal in any match. If anything they were too old with almost everyone except Gabriel Jesus in their upper twenties or thirties. It certainly could be said they underperformed, but I wouldn’t call them overhyped. They outplayed Belgium for most of the match, but Belgium finished one of its few chances, got a lucky bounce off a corner, and Courtois did his best Tim Howard circa 2014 impersonation.

      • I’m aware of their record coming into the tournament, but their performance at the World Cup itself was mostly subpar and was never convincing enough to me that they would be lifting the trophy at the end.

  4. ….and that, boys and girls, is how a good referee manages a high-pressure, high-stakes game between South American and European teams.
    Hopefully Gringer took a little time off his schedule to watch this game. He could learn a thing or two.

  5. What did I say……WHAT DID I SAY???? ??
    We are going to see something exceptional this world cup!!!! ??Belgium are playing with a boat load of EPL talent……
    Romelu Lukaku England ??????? Manchester United – A BEAST
    Eden Hazard (captain) England ??????? Chelsea – A BEAST
    Kevin De Bruyne England ??????? Manchester City – STANDOUT PLAYER RUSSIA 2018 WC
    Marouane Fellaini England ??????? Manchester United
    Vincent Kompany England ??????? Manchester City
    Jan Vertonghen England ??????? Tottenham Hotspur
    GK Thibaut Courtois England ??????? Chelsea – THE HERO…8 SAVES!!!!!

    Old ??Belgium Backline??? Still SOLID and battle tested…..AND LUCKY ??
    Toby Alderweireld (age 29) – ???????Tottenham Hotspur
    Vincent Kompany (age 32) – ???????Manchester City
    Jan Vertonghen (age 31) ???????Tottenham Hotspur
    Thomas Meunier (age 26) ??Paris Saint-Germain – Younger and tried to be exploited by ??Brazil. Will miss next match
    I said we are going to have a shocker this year ……BELGIUM ??!!!!!!

    Keep it moving!!!! ??

  6. As good as he is (and he is very good),Neymar is a hard guy to like. Way, way too much simulation and whining. I’ll miss him about as much as I’ll miss Mexico.


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