Belgium ended Brazil‘s dream of a sixth World Cup title when they beat the South Americans 2-1 in a dramatic, enthralling end-to-end quarter-final on Friday to earn a semi-final tie against France.
Brazil dominated the opening stages, with Thiago Silva hitting the post, but went behind when midfielder Fernandinho put the ball into his own net from a corner in the 13th minute.
Belgium took advantage of some wide open spaces in the Brazil defence when Romelu Lukaku found an unmarked Kevin de Bruyne who fired home their second goal in the 31st.
Brazil threw everything at Belgium in the second half and finally found a way past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois with a Renato Augusto header in the 76th minute. But despite laying siege to the Belgian goal, they could not find an equaliser.
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Earlier Friday, Raphael Varane’s glancing header and a goalkeeping blunder that gifted Antoine Griezmann a soft goal gave France a 2-0 victory over Uruguay in the first quarter-final.
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Varane’s 40th-minute header from a Griezmann free kick was only the second goal Uruguay had conceded all tournament. The South Americans went close to equalising just before the break only for Martin Caceres’s goal-bound header to be brilliantly turned onto a post by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
But it was an error by Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera that settled it when he tried to palm a routine long-range, swerving Griezmann shot after 61 minutes but misjudged it and allowed it to slip past him.
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Uruguay, hard-hit by the absence of injured key striker Edinson Cavani, showed plenty of commitment trying to find a way back but France controlled the ball well to secure their Saint Petersburg semi-final slot.
© 2018 Reuters