De Bruyne fires Belgium past Brazil and into semi-finals
Brazil 1 - 2 Belgium

De Bruyne fires Belgium past Brazil and into semi-finals

06/07/2018

Belgium blew away Brazil to claim a place in the semi-finals of the World Cup, with an own goal from Fernandinho and a strike from Kevin De Bruyne giving them a 2-1 win.

Roberto Martinez’s side will face France in the final four for a place in the tournament’s final next Tuesday. Belgium will now be among the favourites to go all the way in Russia. This felt like a defining moment for the country’s most talented group of players ever.

Martinez opted for an experimental system, with Romelu Lukaku used as something of a winger, with Eden Hazard on the left and De Bruyne higher up the pitch. It worked as Belgium built a 2-0 lead in the first half, first through the own goal from a corner kick and then the second from De Bruyne after a rapid counter attack.

With Brazil’s World Cup campaign on the brink, Tite made changes for the second half, with Douglas Costa, Roberto Firmino and Renato Augusto all having an impact. It was the latter who gave Brazil a lifeline with 14 minutes left to play, heading home from a Philippe Coutinho pass.

However, the Selecao couldn’t find a second, despite chances for Renato and Coutinho to send the game into extra time - meaning that Belgium are in the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

Belgium were booed off the pitch after their final World Cup warm-up game on home soil. Martinez was the target of much scrutiny from his own fans. They viewed the former Everton and Wigan Athletic manager to be out of his depth. They saw him squandering their country’s golden chance. Well, Martinez finally deserves some credit. He got his tactics spot on for this game, with Belgium putting Brazil to the sword on the counter attack time and time again. Kudos.

De Bruyne provided the highlight of the match, firing into the bottom corner to score the goal that ultimately ended Brazil’s World Cup campaign. Hazard was also a standout for the Red Devils. But it was the work of Lukaku beforehand that warranted highlighting. The Manchester United forward was key to the way Belgium played. At times, he was unplayable, driving his side up the pitch at will. This was one of his best ever displays for his national side.

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DERBY OF THE WEEK
Tottenham Hotspur - Chelsea
Derby of the week
17:30
24/11/2018
Derby of the week
W 2.60    
   W 2.62
The odds are correct at the time of publishing
12-11-2018 13:30 and are subject to change
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