Brazil's lack of a genuine midfield playmaker doomed their World Cup run

07 July, 2018, 07:45 | Author: Courtney Perry
  • YOUNG GUN Gabriel Jesus in Brazil's final group stage clash against Serbia

And substitute Renato Augusto gave Brazil hope in the 76th minute with a glancing header from a deft Coutinho chip that beat Courtois and cut the Selecao's deficit in half. Their most recent meeting came in the last 16 of the 2002 World Cup, where goals by Rivaldo and Ronaldo gave Brazil a 2-0 victory. Belgium has scored 12 goals in the tournament, with Romelu Lukaku sitting in second place in tournament scoring with four of those goals in three matches.

The coach highlighted a number of reasons Belgium should fear his team - their speed on the counter-attack, ability to produce magic as well as a miserly defence that has conceded just a single goal in Russian Federation.

When all else failed, there was Thibaut Courtois who made several outstanding saves including one in the fourth minute of stoppage time to turn away a Neymar shot that was heading for the top corner.

The best result that Belgium have achieved in their World Cup history is reaching the semi-finals in 1986, when they eventually finished fourth.

"It's incredible. This team wants to win every game, against England people said it was better to lose but we won the game, we have confidence in our team".

It takes some luck to advance from any doe-or-die game, especially at a World Cup.

Romelo Lukaku leads Belgium with four goals so far in the tournament.


"We are leaving the World Cup with sadness", said Brazil skipper Miranda.

But Neymar wasn't alone as Henry and Hazard very kindly consoled the emotional Brazilian at the Kazan Arena following the entertaining quarter-final clash.

Lukaku's coach Roberto Martinez highlighted Neymar's ability in one-on-one situations as something his team will have to pay close attention to, but he feels Belgium also have plenty of "individual talent" to cause significant problems.

The 1-0 scoreline didn't last long, as Belgium doubled their lead just after the half-hour mark.

Belgium refused to fold, however, in the enthralling closing stages, ensuring Roberto Martinez's side reached the World Cup semi-finals for only the second time in their history.

Criticized for his playacting, Neymar then went down lightly under minimal contact from Marouane Fellaini at the start of the second half.

It was a Neymar-Hazard clash, two players with similar playing quality of skill, speed and dexterity but on the night it was the Belgian man who showed goal, led with example, whilst the other in yellow, looked out of sorts, tried on many occasions to win an underserving sympathy, penalty from the referee.

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