Belgium have reached the World Cup semifinals for the first time since 1986 after holding on to beat Brazil in a thrilling encounter. The Red Devils will now face France in the final four.Brazil 1-2 Belgium
(Renato Augusto 76′ – Fernandinho o.g. 14′, De Bruyne 31′)
Belgium’s golden generation proved to be golden indeed as they held out against five-time World Cup to set up a semifinal clash against France.
In the midst of a frantic and attacking start that saw Thiago Silva somehow hit the post from two yards out, Brazil struck first but for Belgium. Nacer Chadli swung in a corner that Fernandinho inadvertently directed into his own net to send the Red Devils into raptures.
With the tempo of the game continuing at a furious pace, Brazil sought an equalizer. Instead, Belgium delivered a hammer blow. Just as he did against Japan, Romelu Lukaku’s pace and movement opened up the play and this time it was Kevin De Bruyne who was in position to send a glorious strike into the far corner from the outside of the box.
In the second half, Brazil looked a different side and the game seemed to turn on the referee Milorad Mazic’s decision not to award Brazil a penalty. After Vincent Kompany appeared to arrive late on Gabriel Jesus in the box, Mazic said no and stuck by his decision despite the intervention of the video referee.
With time seemingly running out and Brazil piling forward, Renato Augusto came off the bench to head home a brilliantly flicked cross from Coutinho and breathe new life into the Selecao. Several chances were squadered, with Coutinho missing the best of the lot after great work by Neymar, wh himself drew a stunning save out Thibaut Curtois. Despite a desperate finish though, Belgium held on to reach the semifinals for the first time since 1986.
++++As it happened+++++
RESULT – BELGIUM BEAT BRAZIL TO REACH THE WORLD CUP SEMIFINALS!
90+5′ – Belgium have a corner… surely that’s it now?
90+4′ – HUGE SAVE! Neymar gets the chance to curl it from the edge of the box. He does, but Courtois makes an incredible reflex save. The corner is cleared. Was that the moment?
90+2′ – Into the first two minutes of injury time. Belgium throwing themselves in front of everything. History beckons…
90′ – CHANCE!
Cross comes in from Costa, Neymar is at the back post ahead of Meunier and goes down! No penalty given and rightly so.
89′ – Brazil are starting to get desperate.
86′ – Roberto Martinez is trying to shut up shop, but will it come back to cost him?
85′ – Belgium may be leading, but they’re the ones on the ropes as Tielemans comes on to replace… Lukaku?!?
84′ – HUGE CHANCE!
Neymar does everything right, beating his man out wide to get into the box. He unselfishly squares for Coutinho, who opens up his foot and fires wide. All he needed to do was put his laces through it. What a let off!
83′ – Thomas Vermaelen comes on for Nacer Chadli. A defensive switch.
82′ – Belgium need to bring on some fresh legs. Tired legs are leading to tired passes.
81′ – SHOT!
No one tracks the run of Renato Augusto, who bursts into space and goes for goal from 20 yards nly t fire wide. He’s got to hit the target. He had all the time and space to pick out his spot.
79′ – CHANCE!
Neymar goes on a long run down the left. No one really closes him down as Belgium allow him to cross. Firmino’s first touch is delightful, his second sees him send a shot just over the bar. It’s all one-way traffic.
76′ – GOAL!
Brazil have got one back! The pressure finally tells for Tite’s men as Coutinho’s cheeky cross is met by substitute Renato Augusto, whose glancing header finds the bottom corner. It’s game on in Kazan!
74′ – CHANCE!
Some more panicky defending from Belgium as Brazil continue to pile on the pressure. Neymar has a shot blocked.
70′ – SO CLOSE!
Belgium break again as Eden Hazard looks to play in Thomas Meunier. Intercepted by Marcelo, but it was all of a few inches away from being a perfect through ball.
69′ – Lukaku charges forward down the right wing, beats Miranda for pace, but then takes a heavy touch which takes the ball out of play. Right intent, wrong execution.
67′ – We’ve got a break in play with both Fernandinho and Axel Witsel down.
65′ – Something tells me we’re going to be talking about this penalty claim for a while…
63′ – Douglas Costa break to the byline and drills a cross into the box. It pings arund in there, but doesn’t fall kindly for Paulinho as Belgium survive another scare.
62′ – CHANCE!
The Red Devils finally find an outlet in transition as De Bruyne releases eden Hazard. The Chelsea man has Lukaku to his right, but goes for goal himself. Selfish. If he had played in Lukaku it was game over.
60′ – I will say this. I can’t see Brazil not scoring. Belgium are starting to defend like it’s the last five minutes of a cup final. The problem with that is they’ve got 30 minutes left!
58′ – Douglas Costa is on for Gabriel Jesus. Plenty of pace for Brazil up front. The problem is they don’t have room to work with as Belgium are sitting very deep now.
56′ – PENALTY CLAIM!
It’s another one for Brazil. The most convincing one yet. Gabriel Jesus nutmegs Vertonghen on the byline. Kompany goes diving in and definitely takes out Jesus. VAR review is called upon and… NO penalty is given. That looked a clear penalty.
55′ – SAVE!
Paulinho makes a bursting run into the box. Holds off his marker, but can’t beat Courtois at the near post.
53′ – Neymar cuts in off the left wing, goes down in the box. It looked like he was clipped, but the referee is having none of it. And rightly so… it’s a dispicable dive from Brazil’s talisman.
51′ – Credit to Roberto Martinez, he’s outfoxed Tite here. Howver, the loss of Casemiro is noticeable.
49′ – Kompany wins the ball at the back and intiates another counter. Lukaku ends up with the ball, but can’t win his on-on-one battle with Miranda. Solid defending from Brazil’s captain.
47′ – It does look as if Gabriel Jesus is staying in the lone striker role, while Firmino is coming in off the wings in tandem with Neymar.
Roughly four years ago, Brazil were left embarassed at the end of their 7-1 drubbing against Germany. Could Belgium match that effort? Roberto Firmino is on for Willian.
As it stands, we’re guaranteed to have a European winner of the World Cup. Brazil are on the ropes and Belgium are looking dangerous. It has been 80 years since Brazil came from two down to win a World Cup game.
45′ – Neymar goes to ground in the box. No penalty given by the referee, whow as in a great position to make the call.
44′ – Belgium look really comfortable sitting deep, defending crosses and breaking on the counter. You feel Brazil need a moment of magic from messers Neymar or Coutinho.
43′ – The next goal here will be massive. If Belgium can get a third, then you get the feeling this one may be beyond Brazil.
42′ – CHANCE!
De Bruyne takes the corner, whips it in towards the front post where Kompany goes for an improvised backheeled attempt. Saved by Alisson.
41′ – CHANCE!
Belgium are awarded a free-kick in a dangerous area, 25 yards out from goal. De Bruyne goes for goal himself and forces Alisson to plam the ball over the bar.
39′ – Something tells me Tite may not wait as long to introduce Roberto Firmino.
37′ – DOUBLE SAVE!
Courtois does incredibly well to tip a deflected cross behind at his front post. The resulting corner is worked to Coutinho, who finds a pocket of space before trying to bend one into the far corner. Fortunately for Belgium, Courtois is on hand to deny the Barcelona man.
37′ – Can Belgium avoid the roles being reversed?
36′ – CHANCE!
One of Marcelo’s crosses finally finds a teammate. Gabriel Jesus loses his marker but can’t turn his header on target.
33′ – What could have been for Brazil…
31′ – GOAL!
Lukaku deserves all the credit for this goal. A Brazil corner is cleared to the Manchester United striker. His hold up play is good, but his bursting run past four Brazilians is better!
He plays in Kevin De Bruyne, who takes one touch, waits for the space to open up before lashing a pure strike into the far corner.
30′ – Another Brazil corner causes problems for Belgium’s backline as Fernandinho and Neymar both have shots blocked.
29′ – Brazil need to work the ball quicker because Belgium are holding their shape when the Selecao are passing it around at the back and in midfield.
27′ – Neymar is receiving treatment aon the sidelines after a coming together with Axel Witsel. A bit of ice spray and he’s ready to go.
25′ – Brazil are enjoying an extended spell of pressure as Belgium begin to drop deeper. they’ve got to be wary of the counter-attacking qualities of thier opponents. This is a wonderfully open game!
23′ – Marcelo is having a lot of joy down the left, but his end product hasn’t quite been there yet. Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez had this to say about how his side were going to try and keep the influential left-back in check:
“We will have a zonal job to cover Marcelo. We have to be unselfish and aware of defending space as a team. Today you cannot give jobs to individuals. Today is about being compact and defending as a solid block.”
21′ – Belgium showed their mettle in their come-from-behind win over Japan in the last-16. Now we’ve got a chance to see how they handle going ahead against Brazil.
19′ – Belgium really are firing on all cylinders at this World Cup…
18′ – SHOT!
Coutinho pulls the trigger from range, but it’s straight at Courtois. Brazil have had the better chances, yet they’re the ones who trail.
16′ – Ladies and gentlemen, we have a game on our hands! The encounter is being played at a frantic pace, chances are being created at will and somehow Brazil haven’t scored.
14′ – GOAL!
Belgium take the lead! Vincent Kompany gets a flick on at the front post. Gabriel Jesus and Fernandinho get in each other way as they try to clear and the Man City man gets the final touch to send the ball beyond his own keeper.
12′ – If it keeps up liek this we won’t be waiting long for the opening goal.
10′ – There’s been a lot of fuss about the attacking talents on display, but right now both teams are making a real hash of their defending. Lots of panicky clearances and poor marking from corners.
8′ – SHOT!
Belgium counter down the other end with Lukaku, who finds De Bruyne in the box. Brazil defend well, but when the ball pops loose, Chadli curls an effort just wide of the target. This game has come to life!
7′ – OFF THE POST!
Marcelo’s cross is blocked behind for a corner. It’s flicked on at the near post by Miranda, Thiago Silva gets his knee to the ball, but can only turn it onto the post. Thibaut Courtois was helpless, but gobbles up the loose ball. What a let off.
6′ – Marouane Fellaini concedes his second foul of the game! My earlier prediction is looking good. This time he catches Neymar.
5′ – Marouane Fellaini concedes his first foul of the game…
4′ – It looks like Belgium are utilizing a 4-3-3 formation. De Bruyne seems to be playing through the middle, while Lukaku and Hazard are drifting out wide on either flank.
2′ – These are the two most exciting sides in international football. I can’t imagine this will be a dull game because both sides like to attack. De Bryune shrugs Fernandinho off the ball and gets an early shot off which is dragged wide.
We’re off! This game promises a lot. Let’s hope it delivers. We’re now doing a sweepstake as to how many Neymar rolls we’re going to see tonight.
19:58 – We’ve just gone for the obscure predictions in the office. I personally am backing Fellaini to get sent off. One of my colleagues has found shorter odds by backing Neymar to get injured. We don’t trust ourselves with any other predictions!
19:55 – My colleague is raving about how the Brazil fans chant the second verse of their national anthem and I have to agree with him. It’s enough to raise the hairs on the back of your neck!
19:50 – Elber on Neymar theatrics, Tite and Brazil’s chances…Click here to read the DW’s exclusive interview with former Bayern Munich and Brazil striker Giovane Elber.
19:45 – Tite backs under fire Neymar
Neymar has come under a lot of fire for his playacting. Statisticians have reviewed the footage and determined that he’s spent a total of 14 minutes on the ground at the World Cup. However, he’s gotten the backing of his head coach.
“What makes me happy is to have him playing at his best. It’s not just with the ball, it’s not just dribbling. There are actions, there are transitions, defensive transitions and if you look, you see how much he has contributed.”
19:40 – Firing on all cylinders
This is supposed to be Belgium’s golden generation, and perhaps for the first time we are beginning to see why. The Red Devils are the highest scoring side in Russia having racked up 12 goals in their four games so far. Could this squad finally be about to deliver?
19:35 – Team news!
Belgium make two changes as Nacer Chadli and Marouane Fellaini, who scored as substitutes against Japan, both start. Kevin de Bruyne moves out wide from deep as Yannick Carrasco and Dries Mertens miss out.
For Brazil, Casemiro is banned so Fernandinho starts in midfield, while Marcelo comes back in at left-back.
19:30 – Buckle up, we’re in for a wild ride….
…we hope! Hello and welcome one and all to DW’s live coverage of the World Cup quarterfinal between Belgium and Brazil. France have already booked their place in the semifinals, but their game against Uruguay was far removed from being in contention for ‘Game of the Tournament’. With the attacking talent Belgium and Brazil boast in their ranks, this one should be a barnstromer.