Belgium holds off Brazil in thriller to reach semis

Belgium holds off Brazil in thriller to reach semis

Five-time world champion Brazil came into Friday's quarterfinal match at Russian Federation 2018 as the clear favorite to beat the Red Devils and reach next week's semifinal versus France, which had dispatched Uruguay hours earlier.

Meanwhile, Japan thought they had the game locked away with a 2-0 lead in the second half, but then Belgium stormed back to go up 3-2 in the fourth minute of stoppage time to win the game; it's the first time in almost 50 years that a team has overcome a 2-0 deficit to win a game.

Brazil sailed past Mexico to reach the quarterfinals, while Belgium fended off Japan with a winning goal in added time, becoming the first team to win a World Cup knockout round match after trailing by at least two goals since 1970.

Martinez saw his side rally from the brink of elimination to snatch a last-gasp 3-2 win over Japan in the Round of 16 on Monday, booking a meeting with the five-time World Cup winners.

Especially after Brazil conceded only one goal in the previous four games in Russian Federation. Neymar and Gabriel Jesus will be hoping to shine for Brazil against a Belgium side that will feature Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and four-goal striker Romelu Lukaku. It's more competitive, as we're seeing at this World Cup, and we have to do our bit. After Belgium cleared a corner, Lukaku turned into space and burst down the middle. Brazil's defense has only given up one goal this World Cup, but Belgium is the highest-scoring team so far, so the match-up should make for some great soccer.

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The action continued late on into the game - Brazil argued in vain for a penalty on the 90th minute - Neymar (who else) fell in the box as he jumped for a cross, following negligible contact from Meunier, but referee Milorad Mazic was unmoved, as was VAR. It was a spirited display from Brazil, which managed to pull a goal back after going 2-0 down in the first half, and almost equalized in the dying moments when Neymar forced a fingertip save from Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

Firmino so almost drew Brazil level with a shot on the turn as he collected a Neymar pass but he fired just wide, in what was his side's 21st shot of the tie, while Augusto thought he had scored a second on 80 minutes but his shot was agonizingly wide of the left upright. "I think we will have to savour the game and do as much as we can for our country". Belgium weren't to be outdone and went one further than their rivals by actually putting the ball in the back of the net.

Tite, who said it was not an appropriate time to discuss his future as Brazil coach, felt the difference in the match had been Belgium's finishing. "They have a lot of top players and finished well".

"I believe defensively they can be taken, but the way in which you do it will have to vary". The playacting and diving, though, have made him a figure of mockery, especially in Europe.

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