Belgium produced a shocking efficiency to say a spot in the World Cup semi-finals with a 2-1 win over five-time champions Brazil in Kazan.
A Fernandinho personal objective and a fierce strike from Kevin de Bruyne put Roberto Martinez’s aspect in early management of a compelling encounter.
Brazil responded after the break and pulled one again by way of substitute Renato Augusto 14 minutes from time however Belgium withstood appreciable strain to carry on, though they had been maybe lucky to not concede a penalty.
Gabriel Jesus regarded to have been caught in the field by his Manchester Metropolis team-mate Vincent Kompany however, regardless of a VAR overview, nothing was given.
Thibaut Courtois additionally made a brilliant fingertip save to maintain out a Neymar effort in injury-time.
Courtois mentioned: “It is unimaginable. This workforce desires to win each recreation, in opposition to England folks mentioned it was higher to lose however we gained the recreation, we’ve got confidence in our workforce.
“I’ve been unfairly criticised so much this 12 months, right this moment I proved once more who I’m and why I’m right here.
“I do know Neymar likes to curve it that approach, I used to be prepared and made save. Our tactical plan was nice. We felt it was our day. It is a childhood dream to be in the World Cup.”
And on his warfare of phrases with England keeper Jordan Pickford, he added: “This factor about Jordan Pickford, I wish to make it clear, I by no means mocked his peak, he is an amazing goalkeeper. I wish to make that clear.”
Martinez hailed his aspect’s preventing spirit and can to win.
“They did it,” mentioned the former Everton boss.
“You noticed unimaginable coronary heart from this workforce.
“It’s important to settle for that Brazil have finesse and they’re going to break you down however we didn’t settle for it. This is one thing particular.
“These boys need to be actual particular folks again in Belgium.
“I by no means misplaced a recreation on the ways board, it is the execution that issues and the execution was magnificent.
“Gamers need to be courageous to alter the approach we play and we had two days to do it. That is all the way down to want, they wished to make it occur.
“It is particular. We won’t allow them to down again residence now. We now have crushed Brazil in the World Cup, we’ve got created a pleasant reminiscence, let’s treasure it and cross it down. Now we want extra vitality for the semi-final.”
Belgium made a flying begin, maybe aided by a change of ways and personnel.
Supervisor Martinez determined to begin with Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli, the midfielders who remodeled the recreation as substitutes in the last-16 fightback in opposition to Japan.
That freed De Bruyne to play in a extra superior function and the Metropolis midfielder revelled in the house Brazil frequently gave him.
It was Brazil who had the first critical likelihood after profitable a nook however Thiago Silva miscued in entrance of objective and bundled his effort in opposition to the woodwork.
Belgium made them rue the miss as they took the lead from a nook of their very own after 13 minutes, though they did take pleasure in some success.
Kompany obscured the view of his Metropolis team-mates Jesus and Fernandinho as he leapt to achieve Chadli’s cross and the ball rebounded in off the latter’s shoulder.
Brazil sought a fast response however Courtois comfortably handled Philippe Coutinho’s long-range strike and Fernandinho had a shot blocked. Marcelo additionally examined Courtois nevertheless it was Belgium who regarded the extra threatening as they launched wave after wave of counter-attacks.
Brazil struggled to deal with their tempo and the second objective got here simply after the half-hour as Romelu Lukaku charged from deep and fed De Bruyne exterior the space.
De Bruyne made no mistake as he lashed residence a thunderous drive from distance.
The Manchester Metropolis ace went shut once more as Alisson tipped over a free-kick and Courtois ensured Belgium carried their benefit into the break by pushing away a Coutinho strike.
Brazil upped their tempo after the break.
Neymar wished a penalty after falling as Fellaini challenged however Serbian referee Milorad Mazic was unimpressed. Jesus had a stronger enchantment after Kompany’s problem however once more Brazil had been denied.
Brazil had been nearly caught out as they pushed ahead however Eden Hazard fired large after one other fast counter-attack.
Brazil got here again once more and eventually replied when Augusto guided residence a header from Coutinho’s expertly-floated cross. Augusto went shut to a different as he drove narrowly large moments later and Coutinho sliced large from one other good opening.
Brazil stored up the strain to the finish however Neymar, after having one other penalty enchantment rejected, couldn’t beat the flying Courtois from distance.