MOSCOW: With a blistering counterattack and sturdy goaltending, Belgium shocked Brazil, 2-1, Friday in the World Cup quarterfinal to become one of the tournament’s last four teams standing.
Brazil last faced Belgium in a World Cup back in 2002, Rivaldo and Ronaldo the goalscorers in a 2-0 win. 16 years later and the two teams are competing on much more even terms.
Both Tite and Roberto Martinez have been trying to find a system that gets the best out of their talented individuals.
Brazil seemed to have cracked it and are getting better with every game their play, but Belgium, on the other hand, are struggling to cohesively play together and get the best out of Kevin De Bruyne.
However, it was Belgium that saw the Brazilian team packing on Friday night. Brazil joins Uruguay, who were defeated earlier today by France.
Brazil’s loss continued a string of World Cup upsets that previously eliminated heavyweights Germany, Argentina, and Spain. France is now the only remaining country in this tournament that has won a World Cup within the past 50 years.
Brazil tried to fight when Neymar bent a shot around the Belgian defense that was headed for goal, but the Red Devils’ keeper lunged for it and flicked it over the top of the crossbar to preserve a one-goal lead in the 95th minute.
The Red Devils continued when Vincent Kompany’s header struck Brazilian defender Fernandinho for an own goal in the 13th minute.
In the 32nd minute, a wicked Belgian counterattack found midfielder Kevin De Bruyne 22 yards out for a shot that might have left a vapor trail.
Belgium advance to their second-ever World Cup semi-finals, where France lay in wait after they beat Uruguay 2-0 in the other quarter-final match earlier today. As for Brazil, they are eliminated by a European opponent for the fourth successive World Cup and will have to wait another four years for a chance to earn their sixth World Cup win.
The last time Brazil, the five-time champions, fought back from a two-goal deficit in a World Cup match was in the 1938 third-place match against Sweden.