Moscow,(AP/UNB) – Belgium has beaten Brazil 2-1 to reach the semifinals of the World Cup for just the second time. The Belgians led 2-0 at halftime and withstood late pressure from the five-time champions after Renato Augusto cut the margin with a header in the 76th minute.Belgium, which last reached the semifinals in 1986, will next face 1998 champion France in St. Petersburg.
It will be the first time since 2006 that four European teams will feature in the World Cup semifinals. The two other spots will be decided in Sunday’s quarterfinals which feature Russia vs. Croatia and England vs. Sweden.
Brazil substitute Renato Augusto has pulled one back for the five-time champions, reducing Belgium’s lead to 2-1 in their World Cup quarterfinal.
Augusto, who went on three minutes earlier as a replacement for Paulinho, connected with a cross from Philippe Coutinho and headed the ball into the net to beat ‘keeper Thibaut Courtois in the 76th minute.
A Fernandinho own goal and a perfectly executed finish from Kevin De Bruyne have given Belgium a 2-0 lead over Brazil at halftime in the World Cup quarterfinal match at Kazan.
Belgium took the lead in the 13th minute after a Belgium corner from Nacer Chadli was met at the near post by Vincent Kompany with a flick, then diverted into the back of the net by Fernandinho’s shoulder.
De Bruyne doubled Belgium’s lead in the 31st minute following a swift counterattack following a Brazil corner. After the corner was cleared, Romelu Lukaku went on a mazy run through Brazil’s midfield before laying a pass off to his left for the oncoming De Bruyne, who struck his shot low into the corner of the Brazil net and beyond the dive of goalkeeper Alisson.
Brazil has had chances to get back into the game, notably in the 37th minute when a curling shot from outside the area from Philippe Coutinho was palmed away by Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
The winner in Kazan will advance to a semifinal match against France.
Kevin De Bruyne has made it 2-0 for Belgium in the World Cup quarterfinal against Brazil with a superb strike from the edge of the area at the end of a swift counterattack.
De Bruyne was set up on the right side of the box by striker Romelu Lukaku, who recovered the ball in Belgium’s half and ran for about 30 meters before delivering a pinpoint pass to his teammate on the left. De Bruyne unleashed a low shot beyond the dive of ‘keeper Alisson and into the corner of the Brazil net in the 31st minute.
Belgium has taken a 1-0 lead against the run of the play in its World Cup quarterfinal against Brazil through an own goal from Fernandinho.
Nacer Chadli’s corner kick that was met at the near post by Vincent Kompany with a flick, then diverted into the back of the net off Brazil midfielder Fernandinho’s shoulder in the 13th minute.
Brazil had been in control with a high press and a couple of good chances, including a Thiago Silva’s effort onto the post.
The winner of the Belgium-Brazil game will meet France in the semifinals.
Belgium fans are getting excited at Kazan Arena as their unofficial anthem, Gala’s “Freed From Desire” Eurodance song, plays over the stadium’s loudspeakers. Released in 1996, the song was a hit in many European countries and remains very popular among the Red Devils’ supporters.
Belgium is playing five-time champion Brazil for a spot in the World Cup semifinals.
Antoine Griezmann says it was “normal to not celebrate” the goal that sealed France’s 2-0 win over Uruguay and sent his team into the World Cup semifinals.
Griezmann did not smile, or perform his trademark dance from the Fortnite game, after Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera spilled a long-range shot into the net in the 61st minute.
The France forward explains he was mentored in soccer by a player from Uruguay and has friends from the country: “I love Uruguayan culture and I love Uruguayans.”
He was playing against his Atletico Madrid teammates Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez who helped make Uruguay the toughest World Cup team to score against. Godin is the godfather to Griezmann’s daughter.
Griezmann says: “I was also playing against friends, so out of respect I thought it was normal to not celebrate my goal.”
Brazil coach Tite has made two changes from the team that beat Mexico for the World Cup quarterfinal match against Belgium at Kazan Arena.
Marcelo has recovered from a back injury to take his place at left back in favor of Filipe Luis and Casemiro’s absence through suspension has given given Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho a start.
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has brought Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli into the starting lineup in place of Yannick Carrasco and Dries Mertens.
The two players played big roles in Belgium’s comeback win over Japan in the round of 16, both scoring in the team’s 3-2 victory. Chadli scored the winner in the final seconds of the match following a thrilling counterattack.
The changes suggest that Belgium is likely to play a more direct approach as it tries to make the semifinals of the World Cup for the first time since 1986. The winner in Kazan will meet France in the semifinals.
Brazil: Alisson, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Gabriel Jesus, Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Marcelo, Paulinho, Fernandinho, Willian, Fagner.
Belgium: Thibaut Courtois, Toby Alderweireld, Vincent Kompany, Jan Vertonghen, Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Marouane Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Thomas Meunier, Nacer Chadli.UNB