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Willian Warns Hazard Ahead of Brazil-Belgium Battle

08 July 2018
Willian Warns Hazard Ahead of Brazil-Belgium Battle

Calcutta/Kazan: Belgium struck early and held off a late Brazil fightback to send the five-time champions tumbling out of the World Cup with a 2-1 victory in an end-to-end thriller on Friday that earned them a semi-final date against France.

For this Belgium team to ever make good on its potential, the great hurdle to overcome wasn't physical.

"We are leaving the World Cup with sadness", said Brazil skipper Miranda. But they will now head into a semi-final against France with huge confidence after taking the scalp of Brazil.

Fernandinho's World Cup woes continued, Hazard's corner coming off the midfielder's arm to glide past Alisson and into the net as he rose to block.

"We are here to try and win the World Cup and are very united".

"Sometimes you have to accept that Brazil has got this finesse, that quality, and that they're going to break you down, and [Belgium] just refused to accept that".

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This was no repeat of Belo Horizonte four years ago, when Brazil were thrashed 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals on home soil, and Tite's side kept their shape and composure despite trailing by two goals.

Coutinho's first-time shot flew wide and yet another Neymar penalty appeal was rejected, before the world's most expensive player drew a phenomenal fingertip save from Courtois in the 94th minute.

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"I helped Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne and explained to them how they should stand and what to do, explaining once was enough, we did the job perfectly, we won deservedly. But it is a dream match for our players - they were born to play in a match like this".

In an entertaining and open game, Brazil hit the post when the match was goalless - Thiago Silva missing in front of a gaping net after Neymar's corner - before substitute Renato Augusto gave Brazil hope with a headed goal after Philippe Coutinho's delicious pass.

Neymar's bad luck with World Cup quarters continued today with defeat by Belgium; he huffed and puffed, he even rolled over a couple of times but he could not blow down the Belgian defence and he couldn't beat Thibaut Courtois. It could it be that Brazil was the side more afraid of failure ahead of the matchup, the weight of history and expectation theirs to carry always.